AI tools
November 27, 2023

ChatGPT Can Also Read Zip Files

Now you can upload an entire code project into ChatGPT and chat with it.

Jim Clyde Monge
Jim Clyde Monge

When OpenAI introduced the code interpreter feature in ChatGPT, it marked a significant step towards the model’s multimodal capabilities. This feature enabled users to upload images and files and interact with them within the chat interface.

Sure, you can upload document files one by one, but what if you have a lot of files? What if they need to be in sub-folders?

In such cases, the per-file upload could become cumbersome.

Fortunately, ChatGPT now supports the ability to upload and process zipped files, addressing these limitations.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Upload the zip files

Head over to the ChatGPT website and set the model to GPT-4. Click on the attach button (highlighted below) and select the zip file from your local disk.

ChatGPT attach file button highlighted
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

Note: Code Interpreter is not available on the free version of ChatGPT. You need to subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 per month, and switch to the GPT-4 model in order to use it.

Step 2: Give your instructions

Once the zip file is attached, give the instructions for what you want to do with the zip file in the prompt box.

For instance, you could instruct ChatGPT to modify the spotlight template from Tailwind for your personal blog.

Prompt: modify the template for my personal blog. My name is Jim, a software engineer, technical writer, and solopreneur based in the Philippines.

ChatGPT code interpreter attach zip file example
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

ChatGPT will extract the zip file’s contents and analyze them to determine the appropriate modifications.

Step 3: Download the modified zip file

It may ask clarifying questions during the process, such as selecting between JavaScript or TypeScript versions.

To proceed, I need to know which version you are working with or prefer to modify — the JavaScript version (spotlight-js) or the TypeScript version (spotlight-ts).

It would take a couple of seconds for the AI to scan the whole project and make modifications.

ChatGPT code interpreter attach zip file example
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

In the end, ChatGPT is able to modify the project and give me the link to a downloadable zip file. That is super cool.

Step 3: Examine the results

Here’s what the modified project looks like:

Tailwind spotlight example modified template
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

In comparison, this is what the original template looks like.

Tailwind spotlight example modified template
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

What’s even cooler about this is that you can make further modifications, like adding your own image, replacing the backlinks with your own social media links, etc.

Upload any zip file

Aside from uploading a zip file of the entire code base, you can also upload a zip file that contains multiple file types:

  • Images (JPG, PNG, BMP, etc)
  • Documents (PDF, DOCX, CSV, etc)
  • Other source code (Python, C++, C, etc)

Can you also upload zipped video files? Yes, you can, but it can only extract the first frame of the video and give you a description of what it’s about.

ChatGPT zipped video analysis example
Image by Jim Clyde Monge

Why is this important?

ChatGPT’s new zip file feature is tremendously impactful in some sectors. Here are examples of practical applications:

  • Developers: Upload zipped code repositories and let ChatGPT analyze the code for potential bugs, identify optimization opportunities, or generate comprehensive documentation.
  • Designers: Upload zipped design assets, including images, fonts, and color palettes, and instruct ChatGPT to create visually appealing and consistent designs.
  • Content Creators: Upload zipped blog posts, articles, or social media content and allow ChatGPT to suggest improvements, enhance readability, or optimize the content for search engines.

Final thoughts

Overall, I am impressed with this new capability of ChatGPT. By removing the last remaining barrier to feeding complex multi-file projects into ChatGPT, this feature opens the floodgates to new applications and use cases.

While the ability to upload local zip files is a valuable addition, it would be even more powerful if ChatGPT could directly access and process files stored in cloud repositories such as GitHub, Google Drive, and OneDrive.