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Tips for writing AI prompts

Best practices - and creative tips - for writing clear, effective prompts for Coda AI

Updated over a week ago

Whether you're new to writing AI prompts or looking to enhance your skills, this article will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to get the most out of Coda AI.

Want to learn how to get started with Coda’s AI features? Check out this article.

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Basic tips & tricks for prompts

While Coda AI provides examples of prompts you can use, you can also write your own. When writing a prompt for Coda AI, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be patient and think of prompt writing as a new skill. By testing and assessing what works best, you’ll feel increasingly comfortable.

  • If you are testing a prompt for the first time, use it on a small amount of data first—for example, in a table with 2-3 rows, or apply the prompt to one paragraph at a time.

  • Try the simplest version of what you’d like it to do first, then add more guidelines and examples to fine tune. For example...

    • Write a blog announcing our new image editing feature.

    • Write a blog announcing our new image editing feature, based on the notes found on this page: @Image editor details.

    • Write a blog announcing our new image editing feature, based on the notes found on this page: @Image editor details. Highlight its ease of use.

    • Write a blog announcing our new image editing feature, based on the notes found on this page: @Image editor details. Highlight its ease of use. The action item is to sign up for a free trial.

Coda AI prompt iteration.gif

  • Give AI a role or a persona, or clarify your preferred writing style or target audience. You also can try different prompts to get a variety of responses, or ask for a few versions of the same thing. For example:

    • Write a sales email announcing our new image editor and ask for a call. Give 5 options.

    • I am a sales person contacting a customer about our new image editor. Give 3 options, with a mix of casual and formal tones.

  • Make sure your goal or objective is clear. Be blunt, and remember that AI won’t have context on what you want unless you provide it. For example:

    • I am a sales person. Using these notes, write a message summarizing the call that I can send to our account team. This is a chat message, no need to sign my name.

  • While Coda AI gives options for length, tone and type, you can also provide specific instructions, such as desired word count, or choose between checkboxes and bullet points.

  • If you want specific formatting, give an example to help the AI understand the structure. For example...

    • Write a summary of our meeting notes in the following style: Date: key topics discussed

  • It's important to remember that the AI can have biases in its output, and it's possible to misuse generated content. Let's use AI responsibly.

Referencing data in your doc

In your prompt, you can reference other data in your doc, which helps provide important context to Coda AI so that it can generate custom content.

  • If you are using AI column, AI block or AI assistant, you can type @ to reference other pages, tables, or type = to open the formula builder.

  • If you are using AI chat, you can highlight a selection, or choose from the dropdown of options: general, this page, or doc Q&A.

  • For example:

    • Write an internal memo based on @Notes page.

    • Find five positive customer quotes from the data in the following table: @Customer calls.

AI @ mention.gif

AI limitations

  • Keep in mind that while AI tries its best to provide correct information, it's always a good idea to fact-check important information, as AI can sometimes confidently produce inaccuracies or outdated information.

  • Although Coda AI can generate tables and format text like headers, bold, and italics - it can’t currently add certain Coda specific building blocks like callouts, Packs, formulas.

  • AI models operate based on patterns and data they have been trained on, and Coda AI does not train on your data. It only knows more context if you choose to highlight it, or specific a doc, page, or table in your prompt instructions.

  • AI models are not connected to the internet. They rely solely on the information and data they have been trained on, which may not be up to date or comprehensive.

  • There are limits on how much text Coda AI can use as part of any prompt and its references. A rough guide is to try to keep your input to <10,000 words. We hope to increase this limit soon and if you are seeing any error messages, try to reduce the size of your input. For example, you can highlight specific text and then apply the AI prompt instructions, or you can move some of the content into another column or page.

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