Microsoft Unveils Copilot AI to Boost Productivity in Office Apps

Russell Kidson
Mar 17, 2023
Updated • Mar 17, 2023

Microsoft has recently hosted an event titled 'The Future of Work with AI,' where the company announced its latest AI-powered feature, the Microsoft 365 Copilot. The Copilot aims to streamline work processes by combining large language models with data in the Microsoft Graph to create a powerful productivity tool for users. By automating menial tasks, Microsoft hopes to enable individuals to focus on more creative and fulfilling work. All of this will be accomplished within Microsoft's existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise.

Below, we’ll discuss everything that was announced at the event in detail.

Microsoft Unveils Copilot AI to Boost Productivity in Office Apps


The Copilot feature is seamlessly integrated into the Microsoft 365 suite of applications. By operating in the background of programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, Copilot is designed to enhance creativity, improve productivity, and elevate users' skill sets. Microsoft has also introduced a new feature called Business Chat, which utilizes the power of large language models and Microsoft 365 data to provide an entirely new experience. Users can input natural language prompts and receive real-time status updates based on previous meetings, emails, and chat threads.

Recent data from GitHub indicates that developers who have used GitHub Copilot report increased productivity, reduced time spent searching for information, and the ability to focus on more rewarding work. With these statistics in mind, it is clear that Copilot and Business Chat have the potential to revolutionize the way that we approach work by automating mundane tasks and empowering individuals to focus on more fulfilling work.

Copilot in Word

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an innovative feature that is seamlessly integrated into your everyday apps. Its purpose is to eliminate the burden of mundane tasks, freeing you to concentrate on more pressing work. Copilot is designed to work alongside you, unleashing creativity, unlocking productivity, and up-leveling skills.

With Copilot integrated into Word, you can create, edit, and summarize content in real-time. Simply by inputting a brief prompt, Copilot will generate a first draft, incorporating information from across your organization. Copilot can also add content to existing documents, improve their conciseness, and even suggest the appropriate tone for your writing. Copilot's capabilities are not limited to grammar and syntax; it can also enhance your writing by proposing suggestions that strengthen your arguments and smooth inconsistencies. Here are some of Microsoft’s examples of prompts that you can use:

  • Produce a two-page project proposal by utilizing information from [a document] and [a spreadsheet].
  • Revise the third paragraph to achieve greater conciseness and modify the document's tone to reflect a more informal style.
  • Develop a one-page draft using the provided rough outline as a guide.

Copilot in Excel

Copilot in Excel works alongside you to help analyze and explore your data. Ask Copilot questions about your data set in natural language, not just formulas. It will reveal correlations, propose what-if scenarios, and suggest new formulas based on your questions—generating models based on your questions that help you explore your data without modifying it. Identify trends, create powerful visualizations, or ask for recommendations to drive different outcomes. Here are some of Microsoft’s example commands and prompts you can try:

  • Present a detailed analysis of sales categorized by type and channel, and incorporate a table for clarity.
  • Estimate the influence of [a variable change] and create a chart to enhance visualization of the impact.
  • Illustrate the effect of adjusting the growth rate for [variable] on the gross margin.

Copilot in PowerPoint

The Copilot feature in PowerPoint is designed to help users create impressive presentations. By collaborating with you, Copilot can convert written documents into visually stunning slideshows complete with speaker notes and source material. It can also generate new presentations from a simple prompt or outline. With the click of a button, Copilot can help you condense lengthy presentations and use natural language commands to adjust layouts, reformat text, and time animations to perfection. Here are a few of Microsoft’s example prompts and commands to try out:

  • Develop a five-slide presentation using the content from a Word document and incorporate pertinent stock images.
  • Abbreviate the presentation by producing a concise three-slide overview.
  • Reorganize the three bullet points into a layout consisting of three columns, with each column accompanied by a relevant image.

Related: Microsoft is reportedly offering free USB drives to Insiders

Copilot in Outlook

The Copilot feature in Outlook streamlines your email communication, allowing you to spend less time on email triage and more time on communicating effectively. With Copilot, you can summarize lengthy email threads with multiple people to understand each person's viewpoint and the open questions that have yet to be answered. You can also respond to existing emails with a simple prompt or turn quick notes into crisp, professional messages by pulling from other emails or content across Microsoft 365. Using toggles, you can adjust the tone or length of your note. Here are some example prompts and commands that Microsoft suggests you try out:

  • Provide a summary of the emails received during my absence last week and highlight any crucial matters.
  • Compose a courteous reply expressing gratitude, and request additional information on their second and third points. Condense the message and modify the tone as needed.
  • Extend an invitation to a 'lunch and learn' session focused on recent product launches, scheduled for next Thursday at 12 PM. Include a note stating that lunch will be supplied.

Copilot in Teams

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI assistant integrated into Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. Copilot works alongside users, enabling them to focus on the most critical work instead of busy work. Copilot can help create presentations, generate status updates, write and edit documents, condense lengthy presentations, and schedule meetings, among other tasks. Copilot is powered by large language models (LLMs) and the Microsoft Graph, combining natural language processing with users' data. Recent data from GitHub shows that developers who have used GitHub Copilot are more productive and spend less time searching for information. Here are a few prompts curated by Microsoft for you to try:

  • Provide an overview of the key points from the meeting that I missed. Are there any areas of disagreement regarding the subject matter?
  • Develop a table outlining the advantages and disadvantages related to [the topic under discussion]. Are there any additional factors we should take into account prior to deciding?
  • Enumerate the resolutions reached and propose potential future actions.

Microsoft’s new Business Chat

Business Chat is a novel experience that operates across all of your data and applications, allowing you to accomplish tasks that were previously impossible. The feature works alongside you, leveraging the power of the Microsoft Graph to collect data from your documents, presentations, emails, calendars, notes, and contacts. This enables you to aggregate information from various sources, ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page and working together efficiently. With Business Chat, you can devote less time to dealing with tools and more time to your most important work. Today, preview customers can access Business Chat through Microsoft Teams. Here are some example prompts and commands that Microsoft suggests you try out:

  • Provide a summary of the discussions, correspondence, and documents related to the [customer] escalation incident that occurred yesterday evening.
  • Identify the upcoming milestone for [project]. Were any risks recognized? Assist me in generating a list of possible risk mitigation strategies.
  • Compose a fresh planning overview resembling the style of [filename A], integrating the planning timeline from [filename B] and incorporating the project list mentioned in [person]'s email.


Microsoft is better with AI

Microsoft has announced a new AI assistant called Copilot, which will be integrated into Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. The assistant works by using natural language prompts and your data in the Microsoft Graph to create presentations, edit documents, and respond to emails. Copilot is designed to unleash creativity, unlock productivity, and uplevel skills, allowing users to focus on more important work. The feature looks similar to Google's AI additions to their productivity apps, which were also recently announced. Microsoft's Copilot is set to be a significant enhancement to their suite of applications, helping users automate routine tasks and concentrate on more meaningful work.


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  1. Tom Hawack said on March 17, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    I plead guilty, guilty of avoiding articles on AI. Not one day, not one site processing the AI hysteria otherwise than excessively IMO, not to mention the number of scripts and apps (some of which have proven to be nefarious) that grow like mushrooms. I’m just fed up, at least for the time being.

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