Microsoft 365 Copilot: What Is It & How To Use It?
Microsoft has recently introduced a new AI assistant known as Copilot for its Microsoft 365 suite, including Office applications and services. Copilot serves as a chatbot helper within the sidebar of these Office apps.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is set to reshape communication and streamline work processes involving Microsoft apps by harnessing the power of cutting-edge large language models to foster innovation and efficiency.
What’s particularly noteworthy is Microsoft’s claim that this tool has the potential to turn your spoken words into the most formidable productivity resource on the planet.
So, the fundamental questions are: What precisely is Microsoft 365 Copilot, and what role does it play in unlocking productivity? Let’s explore these aspects further.
What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Microsoft 365 Copilot represents an advanced AI capability geared toward assisting users in tackling repetitive tasks such as document composition, email summarization, and presentation preparation. Powered by the state-of-the-art GPT-4 large language model, it stands as a pinnacle of AI technology.
This technology draws upon the same underlying framework as Bing Chat, ensuring a seamless and cohesive user experience.
Among its notable features, Copilot boasts Business Chat functionality and seamless integration with key Microsoft applications like MS Word.
The Copilot Business Chat functions as a bot that efficiently scours your business data and applications, swiftly delivering relevant information without the need for manual document searches or waiting for colleague responses.
For your convenience, access to Business Chat is readily available through Microsoft 365.com, Bing, and Microsoft Teams.
What is Microsoft Copilot Used For?
Harnessing the power of Microsoft 365 Copilot means delegating the heavy lifting to this AI tool. Like any proficient AI assistant, all it takes is entering a prompt, and Copilot will diligently carry out your request.
Think of Copilot as your trusted right-hand companion.
For instance, picture this scenario: your company’s IT department has introduced a groundbreaking feature for a product that customers have eagerly awaited for months. The time has come to make the big announcement.
With Copilot at your disposal, you can effortlessly instruct it to draft a feature announcement based on the document provided by the IT department. The AI Copilot will deftly handle this task for you. And should you find the initial result less than perfect, a simple click on “Regenerate” will yield an even improved version.
As you can discern, the capabilities of Copilot are extensive. It can craft meeting slides, compose emails, generate tables and graphs, and even condense meeting summaries.
Whether you require assistance in managing an Excel Pivot Table or staying on top of your mailbox, Copilot stands ready to lend a helping hand.
Microsoft 365 Copilot | Features
Copilot seamlessly integrates into Microsoft 365 through two distinct avenues. Firstly, it operates alongside users within the Microsoft 365 applications they regularly employ, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. This integration aims to elevate productivity, enhance data accessibility, and ultimately enrich the user’s knowledge.
Now, let’s delve into some of the confirmed features that enhance the already legendary Microsoft 365 suite with the inclusion of Copilot.
Copilot in Word
With the introduction of Copilot in Word, you gain access to an exceptional companion for various writing tasks, editing, data retrieval, rapid and precise summarization, and more. It excels at crafting initial drafts, seamlessly incorporating relevant information, and attaching related documents. Furthermore, Copilot has the ability to infuse a personalized tone into each task by discerning the intended recipients of the document.
Here are some of its remarkable capabilities within Word:
- Generating summaries based on other text documents.
- Offering suggestions for different writing tones, whether professional or informal.
- Providing compelling arguments to support a thesis.
- Rewriting sections and highlighting inconsistencies for improved clarity.
- Creating text drafts based on predefined outlines or structures.
Copilot in PowerPoint
With Copilot integrated into PowerPoint, your ability to transform ideas into exceptional presentations is greatly enhanced. For those not naturally inclined toward creativity, Copilot steps in as the ideal companion, helping you convey narratives effectively. It has the power to convert written documents into comprehensive presentations, complete with notes and fonts that reinforce your message. Alternatively, it can initiate a new slideshow from scratch based on a simple prompt or outline. Moreover, Copilot simplifies the process of condensing lengthy presentations at the press of a button, offering the ability to adjust layouts, reformat text, and seamlessly synchronize animations, all through natural language prompts.
Here are some key functionalities of Copilot in PowerPoint:
- Generating a draft slideshow by extracting information from another file.
- Summarizing existing presentations for brevity and clarity.
- Modifying the layout of specific slides to suit your needs.
- Streamlining text content and synchronizing it with existing animations in your presentation.
Copilot in Excel
Copilot within Excel has been introduced to simplify data analysis and exploration, offering a departure from complex formulas. Instead, you can now simply inquire about the presented dataset to obtain concrete answers, uncover correlations, and explore what-if scenarios. It goes a step further by providing suggestions for new procedures and data exploration recipes, harnessing models to assist you in delving deeper into your data.
Here’s a glimpse of what Copilot in Excel can do for you:
- Identify trends within your data.
- Create compelling visualizations to enhance data understanding.
- Request recommendations for enhanced insights.
- Easily filter out the highest or lowest values within an Excel spreadsheet brimming with data and variables. This functionality proves invaluable for tasks such as identifying top-selling products, pinpointing major cost contributors, or determining the most successful categories among your audience.
- Effortlessly generate draft budgets or accounting reports.
- Create informative graphs to visualize data patterns.
- Experiment with assumptions regarding sales results and growth by tweaking a single variable.
Copilot in Outlook
Undoubtedly, email management can be a significant hindrance to achieving peak productivity. Within Outlook, Copilot steps in as your most reliable ally, helping you communicate more efficiently and swiftly. It simplifies the process of summarizing lengthy and intricate email threads involving multiple participants, providing a comprehensive overview not only of the conversation but also capturing each individual’s unique perspectives and unanswered queries.
Moreover, Copilot enables you to respond to emails effortlessly using concise prompts or transform brief notes into well-defined, coherent messages using content from emails or your existing Microsoft 365 resources.
Here are some key functionalities of Copilot in Outlook:
- Drafting emails by extracting information from other documents.
- Summarizing extensive email chains for clarity and brevity.
- Speeding up inbox organization through the implementation of the above two points.
- Marking the most critical items or messages to ensure their prioritized attention.
Copilot in Teams
Within Microsoft Teams, Copilot serves as your indispensable companion for orchestrating more efficient meetings, capturing vital meeting highlights, and distilling critical actions into clear directives for your team’s follow-through. Additionally, in chat interactions, Copilot stands ready to address specific inquiries and provide updates on any pertinent information you might have missed.
By incorporating Copilot into your meetings and conversations, you gain access to a robust toolset that streamlines everyday tasks, including the creation of meeting agendas based on chat history, identifying the appropriate individuals for follow-up, and scheduling monitoring meetings.
Here are some valuable functions that Copilot brings to Microsoft Teams:
- Generating a list of potential discussion topics for your meetings.
- Crafting meeting structures based on the content of chat messages.
- Producing comprehensive meeting summaries for attendees who may have missed the meeting, arrived late, or desire a condensed overview.
Copilot in Power Apps
Copilot is poised to empower application developers in a revolutionary manner, making the creation of applications faster and more accessible. Through the utilization of natural language models, developers will be able to articulate their application requirements through conversational dialogue.
Additionally, Copilot will facilitate user interactions with data through an intuitive chatbot experience, allowing for more instinctive query creation and data refinement.
Furthermore, Microsoft has integrated Power Virtual Agents chatbots into Power Apps, simplifying the process of integrating AI chatbots into applications and enhancing the developer’s toolkit.
These tools collectively represent Microsoft’s endeavor to lead the charge in low-code application development, striving to create transformative software that can be understood and built by everyone through natural language interaction.
Copilot in Power Automate
Microsoft Power Automate has introduced two new features to enhance its platform: Copilot and Create text with GPT. Previously, in October 2022, the platform introduced “Describe it to design it,” which allowed users to create workflows based on simple sentence descriptions. With Copilot, users can now elevate and modify their workflows through AI-driven conversations. They can ask questions and receive assistance in making improvements and changes, utilizing natural language to construct both simple flows and complex business processes.
Additionally, Microsoft has rolled out a feature called “Create text with GPT,” enabling users to automatically generate content within desktop workflows. This feature is particularly beneficial for tasks such as generating daily content, facilitating customer service, and extracting information from large volumes of text and documents, significantly saving time compared to manual processes.
In summary, these new features empower Power Automate users to automate their processes with greater intelligence, speed, and efficiency.
Does Microsoft Copilot Work Without Internet? Is It Offline?
Most AI tools, if not all, rely on an internet connection to function. Therefore, it’s highly likely that Copilot will require an internet connection for its operation.
Is Microsoft 365 Copilot Free?
Microsoft 365 Copilot has been priced at $30 per user, per month, catering to users of Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium packages.
Furthermore, there are three key reasons behind Microsoft’s decision not to offer Copilot for free:
- Microsoft has a longstanding history of charging for productivity tools, exemplified by their paid subscription service, Microsoft Office.
- Copilot represents a potent and valuable tool that streamlines the operations of businesses and developers. If it were freely available, widespread adoption could level the competitive landscape, potentially posing challenges for Microsoft.
- Microsoft has made substantial investments in the development and refinement of the Copilot system over several years. Considering the significant resources dedicated to research and development, it’s reasonable to expect Microsoft to seek a return on their investment by charging for Copilot.
What is the purpose of Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to assist users in automating repetitive tasks, such as document creation, email summarization, and presentation preparation. It leverages advanced AI technology, particularly the GPT-4 large language model, to streamline these processes efficiently.
How does Copilot integrate with Microsoft applications?
Copilot seamlessly integrates with popular Microsoft applications like MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Teams. It operates within these applications to enhance productivity, facilitate data access, and expand users’ knowledge.
Can Copilot summarize lengthy email threads in Outlook?
Indeed, Copilot in Outlook can summarize complex and lengthy email threads, making it easier for users to grasp the conversation’s key points and different perspectives. It provides a comprehensive overview of the discussion, including unanswered questions.
What are some of the specific capabilities of Copilot in Word?
Copilot in Word excels at generating document summaries, suggesting various writing tones (professional or informal), offering arguments to strengthen a thesis, revising sections for clarity, and creating drafts based on predefined outlines or structures.
Is Copilot available for Microsoft Teams users?
Yes, Copilot is available for Microsoft Teams users, enhancing meeting organization, capturing meeting highlights, and summarizing critical actions. It can also assist in chat interactions by addressing questions and providing updates on important information.
How does Copilot in Excel simplify data analysis?
Copilot in Excel simplifies data analysis by allowing users to inquire about datasets using natural language, without relying on complex formulas. It can identify trends, create visualizations, offer recommendations, and filter out extreme values within spreadsheets, among other tasks.
Can Copilot be used to draft emails in Outlook?
Absolutely, Copilot in Outlook can draft emails based on information extracted from other documents, saving users time and effort in composing messages.
Does Copilot work offline?
Most AI tools, including Copilot, typically require an internet connection to function effectively. However, as Copilot is currently in testing and not publicly available, the availability of an offline mode remains uncertain.
Microsoft’s Copilot is a game-changing AI assistant integrated into Microsoft 365, streamlining tasks across applications. While not free, its potential for enhancing productivity is substantial. As Microsoft invests in its development, Copilot promises to redefine the way we work.