How to use ChatGPT’s new Code interpreter

OpenAI's latest innovation, the ChatGPT Code Interpreter, is reshaping software development. Learn how you can leverage the tool to code and perform data analysis.

How to use ChatGPT’s new Code interpreter

Unless you live under a rock, you must know that AI has revolutionized how people work. It is safe to say that even software developers and engineers have benefited from this technology. The credit goes to companies like Open AI, which develop and release improved AI tools to make your life easier. Just as the world was getting a hold of ChatGPT and its many uses, the company decided to take on the world of software development by developing this premium, exclusive feature called ChatGPT code interpreter for plus subscriber accounts.

Thanks to the code interpreter, those who previously lacked the know-how and abilities to interpret code and analyze complex data now have access to the world of data analysis.

This piece will explore the superpowers of ChatGPT code interpreter and see how it works. In explaining the process, we’ll cover the following sections:

What is the ChatGPT code interpreter?

As part of OpenAI’s GPT 4.0 (the largest language model ever created), the code interpreter is a plugin. In fact, it is one of the two plugins that OpenAI has published itself. You can easily download it from ChatGPT’s plugin store.

Source: Search Engine Journal

You’d be thrilled to know that this plugin combines software programming and analytical prowess, similar to large language models. With this plugin, you can interactively execute code within ChatGPT’s environment, experiment with it, build prototypes, and do a myriad of other software development and data analytics-driven tasks.

In technical terms, when the code interpreter plugin is added, the ChatGPT model can write code, run it in a Python environment, and return the results. It does this by accessing a Python code interpreter in a sandbox environment. Further, in case of code failure (which happens several times), ChatGPT debugs the code by reading the callback messages. The plugin also allows ChatGPT to enter an automatic loop to fix errors and make the code work.

Activating and accessing the code interpreter

Getting started with the code interpreter is pretty simple. However, the plugin is unavailable on free accounts and only accessible through ChatGPT Plus accounts. Once you have a Plus account subscription, the code interpreter can be added from the ‘Beta Features’ option.

Log in to your account and find the Settings at the bottom left corner to enable code interpreter. Open the ‘Beta Features’ panel and enable the code interpreter plugin.

Note: Code interpreter’s functionality is not a default setting, even with a ChatGPT Plus account. So whenever it’s needed, you must turn it on from the settings. If you start a conversation without turning it on, you cannot switch models afterward and will have to start a new conversation.

How does the code interpreter work?

Fundamentally, the code interpreter feature is a part of GPT 4.0. Consequently, the tech behind its development is the same as that of a standard ChatGPT model. However, there are still subtle differences in how a code interpreter model and a typical model works.

Firstly, the models differ in the type of input they take and the output they give.


If you have even a little experience with ChatGPT, you’re probably familiar with the word limit in your instructions.

When working with a code interpreter model with ChatGPT 4, you can feed in much more information and aid your instructions with a code file to provide a more detailed context. Broadly speaking, the code interpreter will better understand your code and data from the file than your text instructions.


Another difference with a code interpreter is in the output. In a typical ChatGPT conversation, you get a text-based output and/or a code that you can use. But with the code interpreter, ChatGPT runs that code on your behalf and provides an executable version, a ready-made output. Moreover, it allows you to see how the code works, so you also have an option to run it yourself.

This makes it helpful for software professionals and tech-savvy people who wish to save work hours by assigning more straightforward, redundant jobs to ChatGPT or seeking assistance when needed. Even better, it enables less tech-savvy people to perform tasks requiring programming without having the necessary knowledge and writing a single line of code by making specific solutions accessible.

How to use the interpreter?

The primary uses of the ChatGPT code interpreter are to analyze data, convert images, and edit code execution files. Consequently, it accepts the following file formats as input:

  • Text data files (.txt, .csv, .json, .xml, etc.)
  • Image files (.jpg, .png, .gif, etc.)
  • Document files (.pdf, .docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.)
  • Code files (.py, .js, .html, .css, etc.)
  • Data (.csv, .xlsx, .tsv, .json, .etc)
  • Audio files (.mp3, .wav, etc.)
  • Video files (.mp4, .avi, .mov, etc.)

Note that the code interpreter’s performance varies with the kind of file uploads and also depends on the instructions you provide. Let’s look at how the ChatGPT code interpreter handles these data types.

For images, audio, and video files

The code interpreter can only edit image files, It does not work on image conversions or generation. For instance, it may change the color tones, correct the color, reduce the black point, adjust the curves, etc.

Source: Reddit

A few people have been able to use audio files for transcription, but that’s not prominently observed currently. What code interpreters often do best is trim and edit audio, cutting the silent parts, etc.

Source: Reddit

Besides editing videos, the ChatGPT code interpreter can also convert them into other file types. However, this works only for shorter videos with lower resolution.

Source: X

Text files

The new ChatGPT code interpreter plugin performs the best with Word files, not PDFs. It only handles text-containing PDFs. If your PDF input contains other data types, including images, columns, etc., the code interpreter’s ability to extract information gets impacted. Even though it can convert PDFs to.docx files, the results are clumsy unless the original file is just text with basic formatting.

ChatGPT code interpreter can provide specific answers to queries about the text, summarize it, ascertain its sentiment, recommend keywords for search engine optimization, and more when working with Word files. Its text processing powers are essentially the same as those of the standard ChatGPT model. The primary enhancement is the increased word count included with file uploading.


Code Interpreter uses written instructions to both write and run code. It can assist you in experimenting with various problem-solving strategies, offer explanations and code samples, and even inspire you when you're stuck. However, the ChatGPT environment is limited in several ways, chief among them being that it needs internet access, making it unable to download new libraries. Therefore, the libraries it supports restrict the tasks it can complete.

Limitations of the code interpreter

While the ChatGPT code interpreter is a powerful tool, it’s also somewhat flawed and still in a very nascent stage of development. Let’s examine a few areas that still need to catch up.

For starters, the official ChatGPT plugin lacks an internet connection. It cannot connect to APIs and the internet, obviously for security reasons (as of now). This makes it a barrier to working with real-time data.

Secondly, the code interpreter still needs to connect to databases. And you can only imagine how detrimental this is as all organizations employ databases to store data. Without this integration, you’ll have to download all necessary data and upload a CSV or Excel file into the ChatGPT environment.

Another area that requires massive improvement is its CPU power. With limited CPU power, you can only work with some file sizes. Anything crossing a few hundred megabytes burdens the code interpreter, significantly impacting its performance.

Nevertheless, tech advancements like the ChatGPT code interpreter have succeeded after a stride, which is an accomplishment. Besides aiding software developers, engineers, and data analysts, such new features have fostered ambiguity in these career paths.

What’s in for data analysts?

While everyone’s busy cheering OpenAI for its new tech — the ChatGPT code interpreter, it also presents a risk of making data scientists and analysts obsolete. But let us give you a spoiler alert!

While everything looks perfect on the surface, there’s still A LOT for the code interpreter to uncover. So, one thing is pretty straightforward: it cannot entirely replace a human analyst’s skills, especially while understanding. This also brings us to the fact that data analysis is not just about executing the code; it’s way more than that.

If you fear doomsday - when the ChatGPT code interpreter takes over, don’t get in your head. While it is undoubtedly impressive, it is far from becoming the artist behind this art.

Final thoughts

ChatGPT code interpreter has made data analysis more accessible, even to those without a programming background. While it works really well, the technology is still in a very nascent stage and limited by a few factors. But, certainly, it performs commendably — reads code, debugs the errors, and provides a read-to-execute version of your input, making data analysis less complicated and more time-savvy.

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