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How to Summarize Text with ChatGPT: A Beginner's Guide

Text summarization reduces a large body of text to a shorter, more manageable version that retains the main ideas and key points. It is an important skill for anyone who needs to quickly process large volumes of information, such as researchers, students, and professionals.

Fortunately, with natural language processing (NLP) technology advancements, tools such as ChatGPT and Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor are now available to make summarizing text easier and more efficient. ChatGPT is an open-source language model developed by OpenAI that uses deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs.

PDFelement, on the other hand, is a powerful PDF editor that is powered by ChatGPT to summarize, proofread, rewrite text in PDF files. Free download it to have try.

In this beginner's guide, we will focus on how to use ChatGPT for text summarization and how it can help simplify your reading and research.

chat gpt summarize tool

Part 1. Can ChatGPT summarize text?

ChatGPT can be used for summarizing long, complex text documents such as research papers, technical reports, and academic articles. It utilizes state-of-the-art NLP technology to summarize the text, and shorten sentences and paragraphs.

To summarize text, ChatGPT uses a process called fine-tuning. This process involves training the model on a large text dataset and then fine-tuning it on a smaller dataset of the text specifically tailored to the summarization task.

Once the model has been fine-tuned, it can generate summaries of any given text by identifying the most important sentences and phrases and condensing them into a shorter version while retaining the essence of the original text.

Part 2. How to Use ChatGPT to Summarize Text?

Using ChatGPT for text summarization is a straightforward process that involves a few simple steps. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use ChatGPT for text summarization:

Step 1 Go to the ChatGPT website and input the text you want to summarize.

chatgpt summarize tool

Step 2 Choose the length of the summary in terms of sentences or words, then click “Enter.”

summarize text with chatgpt

Step 3 Wait for ChatGPT to generate the summary, which may take a few seconds.

text summarizer tool

Step 4 Review and refine the summary for clarity and accuracy.

text summarization with chatgpt

Additionally, you can include prompts such as "Summarize the following text in 200 words" or "Translate the following text into English and then summarize it in 200 words" to customize the summary length or language translation options.

Effective prompts for ChatGPT to summarize text

Add a character limit to your prompt

To ensure the summary is concise enough, you can add a character limit to your prompt, for example, "Write a 200–400-word summary of this article," or "Summarize the article above(300 words max)."

Specify what you need in your prompt

To ensure the summary is to the point, you can specify what should be included in the summary. For example, when summarizing an article, you can use a prompt like "Summarize the article and tell me what the author's opinions are about xx," which can help ChatGPT give the summary you want.

The limits of using ChatGPT to summarize long text

Word limits of ChatGPT

Both GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models have a maximum input length. The maximum input length for ChatGPT using GPT-3.5 is 4,096 tokens, which is roughly equivalent to 1,000 – 3,000 words. Therefore, the free version of ChatGPT might have trouble in summarizing text above 3,000 words. If you are upgraded to GPT-4, the maximum input limit is 8,192 tokens.

Can ChatGPT summarize PDF, Google Docs, or other documents?

The free ChatGPT 3.5 can't handle document files. Only GPT-4 allows you to upload files for summarizing, proofreading, and more. The supported file types include PDF, Word, CSV, TXT, and more. If you want to summarize Google Docs or other online documents, you can use a Google Docs Add-On to help you with that.

Part 3. How to Use ChatGPT to Summarize Long Text Using PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is a powerful PDF editing software that has integrated a smart PDF AI robot named Lumi, which ChatGPT powers. Lumi helps users seamlessly analyze PDF content, comprehend documents, and easily summarize key information. One of the features of Lumi is the "Summarize PDF" option, which allows users to summarize their PDF documents easily.

PDFelement's summarized PDF feature benefits users who need to extract key information from lengthy PDF documents quickly. It helps users save time by summarizing long texts accurately in just a few clicks. Additionally, the tool can be used to proofread, rewrite, and explain PDF documents. The AI robot can also solve math problems, create text content, and write programming codes.

Summarize Long Text in PDF with ChatGPT

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use the built-in ChatGPT AI tool in PDFelement for document summarization:

Step 1 Open PDFelement on your device and import the PDF document into PDFelement.

Step 2 Click on the "AI" icon located on the right side of the interface or by the "AI Tools" button under the "Home" tab.

summarize text with chatgpt alternative

Step 3 In the AI Sidebar, click on the "Summarize PDF" option, which is located in the lower right corner.

summarize pdf text with chatgpt alternative

Step 4 PDFelement will then generate a summary of the PDF, presenting three key points and three insightful questions related to the content.

For a quick summarization of specific text using ChatGPT within your current PDF file, follow these steps:

Step 1 After opening the PDF file in PDFelement, highlight the desired text portion you want to summarize using ChatGPT.

Step 2 Click on the "AI" button in the floating toolbar. From the options that appear, select "Summarize".

quick summarize text with chatgpt alternative

Step 3 PDFelement will swiftly use ChatGPT to generate a summary along with three key points related to the selected text.

Step 4 To utilize this summary, simply click the "Copy" button within the window and paste it into your current PDF or a new document.

copy summary text with chatgpt alternative

Tips on Using Lumi PDF AI of PDFelement

Here are some tips for using PDFelement effectively for document summarization:

  • Use clear and concise language in your original document to get the best summary results.
  • Utilize the "Content" tab if you want to summarize text only.
  • Edit the output summary as needed to ensure it accurately captures the key information in the original document.
  • Check the remaining tokens in the chatbox to ensure you stay within the monthly limit.
  • Consider purchasing additional tokens if you frequently use the AI feature for summarization or other tasks.

Part 4. Comparison of ChatGPT and PDFelement Summarization

ChatGPT and PDFelement both offer unique benefits and drawbacks for document summarization.

Pros With a vast knowledge base, it can easily summarize complex information, including text from academic papers, research reports, and technical documents. A preset prompt to quickly summarize documents, including PDF, Word, Excel and more. It is an excellent option for summarizing business reports, legal documents, and other text-heavy documents.
Cons May be limited by its maximum input length Need to be downloaded to your computer to access the feature.

Part 5. Best Practices for Summarizing Text using ChatGPT

Effective text summarization is an essential skill that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when summarizing text:

Read the text thoroughly: To create an accurate and concise summary, it is important to read the entire text carefully. This allows you to identify the key ideas and main points that should be included in the summary.

Identify the main ideas: Once you have read the text, you should identify the main ideas the author is trying to convey. These ideas should be highlighted or noted down.

Highlight supporting evidence: It is important to include supporting evidence in the summary and the main ideas. This could include statistics, examples, or quotes that help to reinforce the key points.

Focus on the most relevant information: When summarizing a text, it is important to focus on it. This means identifying the most important information to the text's overall meaning.

Condense the text: A good summary should be concise and to the point, rather than simply shortening the lengthy passages. To achieve this, it is important to condense the text by eliminating unnecessary details and redundant information.

Use your own words: When creating a summary, it is important to use your own words instead of simply copying and pasting text from the original document. This helps to ensure that the summary is written in your voice and accurately reflects your understanding of the text.

Check for accuracy: Before finalizing your summary, it is important to double-check for accuracy. This means ensuring that the summary accurately reflects the original text's content and that all key points have been included.


Effective text summarization is a valuable skill that can save time and improve comprehension. To create a successful summary, it is important to identify the key points and main ideas, select the most relevant information, and condense the text while maintaining the overall meaning. Whether using AI-powered tools like ChatGPT or PDFelement or summarizing manually, following these best practices can lead to effective and efficient summarization.

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