How to refer ChatGPT to earlier messages in the same thread?

In this article, we will explain how you can help ChatGPT remember previous messages and continue the conversation based on recalling specific messages from the past chat. We’ll guide you through this process.

Does ChatGPT remember previous conversations?

Yes, ChatGPT has the ability to remember previous conversations within the same chat window.
The situation applies even if you return to the previous conversation window after talking in a new conversation window.

However, it’s important to note that ChatGPT also has a character limit, and its memory is not unlimited. As the conversation grows longer and its context becomes more diverse, the capability to recall older messages diminishes.

Also read: Does ChatGPT have a character limit?

For instance, if you begin by giving ChatGPT a text and ask for translation into Japanese, it will do that. Later in the same chat, just share the text you want translated, and ChatGPT will try translating to Japanese automatically. You won’t need to ask for translations into German separately each time.

chatgpt remembers context

How does ChatGPT remember previous context?

The “transformer” architecture that ChatGPT uses is a type of neural network designed for natural language generation and processing. Learn more detail through OpenAI’s blog post.

One of the most significant features of the transformer architecture is its ability to maintain and understand the context of previous inputs or conversations. It achieves this through a self-attention mechanism.

This mechanism enables ChatGPT to process the weights of different parts of the input you provide and understand how relevant they are to your current context. As a result, it has capability to generate responses that are more context-aware about the ongoing conversation.

How to refer to earlier messages in ChatGPT?

We mentioned that ChatGPT can remember the context within the same conversation window. However, there are cases where ChatGPT might not be able to recall previous conversations.

Also, when you specifically want ChatGPT to recall a specific section from the conversation history, its default capabilities might not be sufficient.

Nevertheless, there are certain methods you can employ to remind it of previous conversations.

Remind ChatGPT about the topic

Our first method is the most straightforward one. As the conversation continues, all you need to do is simply copy and paste the text you want it to remember from the top.

Even though ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model, it becomes more aware when things are explicitly brought to its attention, much like humans.

remin chatgpt about topic

So, the first method you can employ, if you expect it to recall a past conversation, is to copy the relevant conversation and paste it back into the chat window. This signifies that it should take into account the information from that part of the conversation.

Also read: What are the ChatGPT best practices to get the most out of it?

Utilizing ChatGPT Custom Instructions

Another method is to utilize ChatGPT’s Custom Instructions feature. Custom Instructions is a feature introduced by OpenAI in July 2023 through a blog post, allowing you to express your expectations for responses from ChatGPT and introduce yourself before the conversation starts.

use custom instructions to make chatgpt remember things

Learn more: How to enable and use ChatGPT custom instructions feature?

With Custom Instructions, you introduce yourself and specify how you want ChatGPT to respond. Each time, ChatGPT takes into account the instructions you provided, giving you responses aligned with the characteristics you outlined. This way, you can obtain responses tailored to your specified preferences without needing to repeatedly remind it of a specific topic.


ChatGPT has the ability to understand and maintain the context of the ongoing conversation within the same chat window. However, this ability might not always work exactly as intended.

If you want ChatGPT to recall a previous discussion while continuing the conversation, the easiest method is to copy and paste that conversation and present it to ChatGPT again for reference.

Another approach is to use ChatGPT’s Custom Instructions feature to ensure that ChatGPT provides responses in the desired manner, each time.