Posted on 2023-11-10.

ChatGPT for expanding and compressing text

I was talking to a friend about how boring AI-generated content often is, and I compared generative AI to the institutionalization of mediocrity. Nonetheless, do I find myself working with generative AI occasionally. Not to create something out of thin air, but as a concrete tool for expanding and compressing written or spoken text.


One of my most favorite and important steps when writing anything is a proper Sentence Outline. Instead of writing a topic outline with just the keywords, I have full sentences, that are the equivalent of a paragraph and carry the main point. Both outline types already work on the all over all structure of the text. The sentence outline needs more work, since the points you want to make already have to be made concrete, and not just sketched out.

Depending on various factors, such as time or availability of my medication, I’m unable to work very much on expanding the sentence outline into a first draft. Instead, I’ll hand this task over to ChatGPT with the prompt can you expand the following outline into a text, writing one paragraph per item. This usually leads to a pre-draft, written in the ChatGPT-typical manner. This pre-draft helps me mirror the text to myself, and I’ll have two, or three editing rounds where I redraft tone, voice, vocabulary and expressions.


I stopped writing texts for presentations, which I would just read afterward. It makes me more nervous and prone to make mistakes, and it’s less well perceived by the listeners anyway. Instead, I also start with an outline, topic or sentence, and create the slides afterward. Visualizing the structure and talking points of the presentation usually starts a processing of practicing in my head.

After a few attempts and rounds to find the right words, I’ll try to speak the presentation out loud. That often happens when I’m going for a walk, since the movement helps me be less distracted, and I don’t dwell too much on expressions. I’ll record that and let it be transcribed directly, which works marvelous these days with a smartphone. The produced text needs to be checked for mishearing and then I can hand it over to ChatGPT, alongside the prompt summarize the following text, structuring it as outline. The prompt results in a nicely structured outline, with main- and sub-points, and helps me to practice my presentation afterwards.