Selecting existing free-form content

Selecting Existing Free-form Content

Notion allow users select a block of text then prompt from that selection to generate a list of related content. Context can be enhanced by providing more relevant content and additional prompt based on the selection.

Content generation in Notion

Github Copilot allows users to select a block of code then prompt from that to take actions. Further action can be done by selecting pre-defined actions or manually input guide prompt

Github Copilot on VS Code

Problem: Users often need a faster, more intuitive way to interact with AI without starting from zero, especially when relevant content already exists.

Example: When engaging with an AI to analyze text, users might find it cumbersome to retype or describe the text they're interested in; being able to directly select the text simplifies the process significantly.

Usage: "Selecting Existing Content" is a pattern extensively used in AI applications that analyze or modify content, such as text editors with AI analysis tools, image editing software with AI enhancements, or data analysis tools. It enables users to directly choose the content they want the AI to work with, streamlining the interaction.


Implementing the "Selecting Existing Content" pattern involves providing users with straightforward mechanisms to choose content that has already been created or is available within the application:

  • Text Highlighting: Allowing users to highlight text as input for AI analysis or processing, making textual interactions quicker and more focused.
  • Object Selection in Images: Enabling users to select objects within images for AI to recognize or alter, enhancing user control over visual content.
  • Data Point Selection: Facilitating the selection of specific data points in datasets for detailed AI analysis, improving the precision of insights derived.
  • Content Browsing and Selection: Offering an intuitive interface for users to browse and select available content, such as documents, images, or datasets, for AI processing.


The "Selecting Existing Content" pattern addresses the need for efficient and precise AI interactions by leveraging already available content:

  • Increases Efficiency: By eliminating the need to create input from scratch, this pattern speeds up the AI interaction process, saving users time.
  • Enhances Accuracy: Direct selection of content reduces errors that might occur in manual input, ensuring that the AI works with the exact content of interest.
  • Improves User Satisfaction: Streamlining the process of initiating AI interactions by selecting existing content makes the technology more accessible and enjoyable to use.
  • Encourages Engagement: Simplified interaction mechanisms encourage users to explore AI functionalities more deeply, potentially discovering new uses and applications.
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