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The quick start will cover the basics of working with language models. It will introduce the two different types of models - LLMs and ChatModels. It will then cover how to use PromptTemplates to format the inputs to these models, and how to use Output Parsers to work with the outputs. For a deeper conceptual guide into these topics - please see this page.



We're unifying model params across all packages. We now suggest using model instead of modelName, and apiKey for API keys.

First we'll need to install the LangChain OpenAI integration package:

npm install @langchain/openai

Accessing the API requires an API key, which you can get by creating an account and heading here. Once we have a key we'll want to set it as an environment variable:


We can then initialize the model:

import { OpenAI, ChatOpenAI } from "@langchain/openai";

const llm = new OpenAI({
model: "gpt-3.5-turbo-instruct",
const chatModel = new ChatOpenAI({
model: "gpt-3.5-turbo",

If you can't or would prefer not to set an environment variable, you can pass the key in directly via the apiKey named parameter when initiating the OpenAI LLM class:

const model = new ChatOpenAI({
apiKey: "<your key here>",

These classes represent configuration for a particular model. You can initialize them with parameters like temperature and others, and pass them around. The main difference between them is their input and output schemas.

  • The LLM class takes a string as input and outputs a string.
  • The ChatModel class takes a list of messages as input and outputs a message.

For a deeper conceptual explanation of this difference please see this documentation

We can see the difference between an LLM and a ChatModel when we invoke it.

import { HumanMessage } from "@langchain/core/messages";

const text =
"What would be a good company name for a company that makes colorful socks?";
const messages = [new HumanMessage(text)];

await llm.invoke(text);
// Feetful of Fun

await chatModel.invoke(messages);
AIMessage {
content: 'Socks O'Color',
additional_kwargs: {}

The LLM returns a string, while the ChatModel returns a message.

Prompt Templates

Most LLM applications do not pass user input directly into an LLM. Usually they will add the user input to a larger piece of text, called a prompt template, that provides additional context on the specific task at hand.

In the previous example, the text we passed to the model contained instructions to generate a company name. For our application, it would be great if the user only had to provide the description of a company/product without worrying about giving the model instructions.

PromptTemplates help with exactly this! They bundle up all the logic for going from user input into a fully formatted prompt. This can start off very simple - for example, a prompt to produce the above string would just be:

import { PromptTemplate } from "@langchain/core/prompts";

const prompt = PromptTemplate.fromTemplate(
"What is a good name for a company that makes {product}?"
await prompt.format({ product: "colorful socks" });

// What is a good name for a company that makes colorful socks?

However, the advantages of using these over raw string formatting are several. You can "partial" out variables - e.g. you can format only some of the variables at a time. You can compose them together, easily combining different templates into a single prompt. For explanations of these functionalities, see the section on prompts for more detail.

PromptTemplates can also be used to produce a list of messages. In this case, the prompt not only contains information about the content, but also each message (its role, its position in the list, etc.). We can use a ChatPromptTemplate created from a list of ChatMessageTemplates. Each ChatMessageTemplate contains instructions for how to format that ChatMessage - its role, and then also its content. Let's take a look at this below:

import { ChatPromptTemplate } from "@langchain/core/prompts";

const template =
"You are a helpful assistant that translates {input_language} to {output_language}.";
const humanTemplate = "{text}";

const chatPrompt = ChatPromptTemplate.fromMessages([
["system", template],
["human", humanTemplate],

await chatPrompt.formatMessages({
input_language: "English",
output_language: "French",
text: "I love programming.",
SystemMessage {
content: 'You are a helpful assistant that translates English to French.'
HumanMessage {
content: 'I love programming.'

ChatPromptTemplates can also be constructed in other ways - see the section on prompts for more detail.

Output parsers

OutputParsers convert the raw output of a language model into a format that can be used downstream. There are a few main types of OutputParsers, including:

  • Convert text from LLM into structured information (e.g. JSON)
  • Convert a ChatMessage into just a string
  • Convert the extra information returned from a call besides the message (like OpenAI function invocation) into a string.

For full information on this, see the section on output parsers.

import { CommaSeparatedListOutputParser } from "langchain/output_parsers";

const parser = new CommaSeparatedListOutputParser();
await parser.invoke("hi, bye");
// ['hi', 'bye']

Composing with LCEL

We can now combine all these into one chain. This chain will take input variables, pass those to a prompt template to create a prompt, pass the prompt to a language model, and then pass the output through an (optional) output parser. This is a convenient way to bundle up a modular piece of logic. Let's see it in action!

const chain = chatPrompt.pipe(chatModel).pipe(parser);
await chain.invoke({ text: "colors" });
// ['red', 'blue', 'green', 'yellow', 'orange']

Note that we are using the .pipe() method to join these components together. This .pipe() method is powered by the LangChain Expression Language (LCEL) and relies on the universal Runnable interface that all of these objects implement. To learn more about LCEL, read the documentation here.


That's it for getting started with prompts, models, and output parsers! This just covered the surface of what there is to learn. For more information, check out:

Help us out by providing feedback on this documentation page: