What are the differences between instructions and the instructed prompts

I want to generate a formatted report in the threads that I have created . Should I put the instructions on how to format the report in the assistant instructions or in the prompts ? and what are the differences ??
Thank you !

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When deciding whether to put instructions for generating a formatted report in the assistant instructions or in the prompts, consider the following differences and use cases:

Assistant Instructions

  • Scope: These are more general and apply to all interactions with the assistant. They are useful for setting broad guidelines that should be consistently followed.
  • Consistency: Instructions here ensure that the assistant adheres to specific formats or styles across multiple sessions or interactions.
  • Overhead: If the formatting requirements are complex and need to be followed across many prompts, placing them in the assistant instructions can reduce the need for repetitive input.


  • Specificity: Prompts are for specific, one-time instructions that apply to the current interaction or a particular task.
  • Flexibility: This allows you to customize the formatting for different reports or threads without altering the overall assistant instructions.
  • Clarity: Each prompt can include detailed instructions relevant only to that specific report, making it clear what is needed for that instance.


  1. Assistant Instructions: Use these for general formatting guidelines that should apply to all reports. This can include preferences like font style, layout, and structure.
  2. Prompts: Use these for specific instructions that apply to individual reports. Include detailed formatting requirements that are unique to that report.


Assistant Instructions:

  • Use Arial 12pt font for all reports.
  • Include a header with the report title, date, and author.
  • Format sections with bold headings and bullet points for lists.


  • For this specific report, ensure the table of contents includes links to each section.
  • Highlight the key findings in a summary box at the top.
  • Add a footer with page numbers and a disclaimer text.

This way, the general style and layout preferences are always followed, while specific details can be tailored as needed for individual reports.