What is Microsoft 365 Copilot? Enhance Your Creativity, Productivity, and Skills

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot

Microsoft has just announced its next step in AI integration, Microsoft 365 Copilot. Microsoft 365 Copilot is a helpful AI assistant designed for Microsoft 365 applications. It is a new feature that combines the power of chat interfaces and large language models with real-world applications. It is integrated across Microsoft’s product range, including Windows 11, Microsoft 365, Edge, and Bing.

And there’s more to look forward to! 

If you’re running late to a meeting, you can ask Copilot for a quick recap of what’s happened so far. Even if you miss the meeting entirely, you can later use Copilot to get detailed information. It goes beyond just providing a summary; you can ask Copilot questions to explore the meeting’s background, treating it like a helpful assistant who attended in your place.

I’ll share everything you need to know about Microsoft Copilot, its release date for Microsoft 365, and how it’s changing the way people work and have fun. Let’s dive into the details of this new AI assistant and understand how it’s making tasks easier and more enjoyable on Windows 11, Microsoft 365, Edge, and Bing

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft copilot AI is basically an everyday AI companion that helps you with a variety of tasks, from finding information on the web to creating content to learning new skills. It leverages contextual understanding to tap into the web, your user data, and real-time PC activity, providing tailored and pertinent suggestions.

Is Microsoft Copilot Available Now?

It has been available on Windows 11 since September 26th. You can utilize it through an application or by right-clicking on your PC. Additionally, it’s accessible on Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365. You can also get the advantages of Copilot on the web or through your mobile devices.

As of now, Microsoft 365 Copilot is exclusively available to businesses with a minimum of 300 employees. Smaller businesses can anticipate access in early 2024, while consumers will have access at a later stage.

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What is Microsoft 365 Copilot Price?

Microsoft Copilot, previously recognized as Bing Chat, is accessible without any cost. Moreover, implementing Microsoft 365 Copilot comes at a cost. Businesses must subscribe to a Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan, starting at $36 per person per month.

Then add an extra $30, bringing the total to a minimum of $66 per person per month. For a company employing a minimum of 300 individuals, this translates to an annual expense of at least $237,600.

Microsoft 365 Copilot Release Date

The release dates for various Copilot versions vary. Here’s an overview:

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot: Released for enterprise customers on November 1, with plans for a later rollout to non-enterprise users.
  • Windows Copilot: Launched with a Windows 11 update on September 26.
  • Sales Copilot: Expected to be available in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Service Copilot: Anticipated general availability in early 2024.

How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Using Microsoft Copilot makes tasks quicker and keeps things top-notch. It gets info from solid sources for a complete view. You need to follow the given steps to use the Microsoft 365 Copilot.

  • Start by getting Microsoft Copilot to boost how you work. You can download Microsoft 365 Copilot from the Microsoft 365 app store or the Microsoft Copilot website.
  • After that, sign in with your Microsoft 365 info, open settings, and turn on Copilot. When you’re using Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, you’ll see the Copilot panel on the right.
  • As you type, Copilot suggests stuff based on what you’re doing. Just pick what you need from the panel to make things faster. You can change these suggestions in settings to fit your style.
  • If you see something that could be better, give feedback through the menu to help make Copilot more accurate.

It’s essential to understand that incorporating Microsoft 365 Copilot is not a simple plug-and-play process. Companies aiming to maximize its benefits will need to undergo a comprehensive setup process, which will be discussed in detail below.

The 3 Components of “The Copilot System”

The Copilot System by Microsoft comprises three integral components working collaboratively:

  • Microsoft 365 apps
  • Microsoft Graph
  • Large language model (LLM)

The Microsoft 365 apps serve as a crucial element in the Copilot System. These applications play a pivotal role in facilitating seamless integration and interaction within the system.

The Microsoft Graph, another essential component, acts as a centralized repository for various data types, including emails, files, meetings, chats, and calendars. This wealth of information provides contextual relevance to the Copilot system, enabling it to draw upon a comprehensive understanding of the user’s digital environment.

The big language model (LLM) in Microsoft’s Copilot System is built on GPT-4, which is a smart model known for understanding language really well. This part makes Copilot better at using language and adds to how well it works overall.

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Features Of Microsoft Copilot AI

Copilot is a versatile tool that spans Windows 11, Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365, catering to a wide range of user needs, from content creation and search to collaborative work and design.

Let’s break down the features of CoPilot for Windows 11, Bing and Edge, and Microsoft 365:

Copilot For Microsoft 365 

  • Copilot enhances Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
  • Introduces a new AI chat assistant for enterprise tasks, aiding in content creation, catching up, and answering work-related queries.
  • AI Chat uses contextual understanding to provide personalized suggestions based on work data and apps.
  • AI Chat is not just for work; it helps explore new features in Microsoft 365 apps, learn new skills, and receive feedback on performance.
  • A graphic design tool, the designer uses Copilot and DAL E3 for image generation from textual descriptions.
  • It has features like Generative Expand, Fill, and Erase enhance design capabilities.
  • File Explorer has a clean, modern look with an easy-to-use homepage and a faster search box.
  • New gallery feature for easier photo viewing and tracking file changes without opening them.

Copilot For Windows 11

  • Copilot makes tasks quicker and maintains high quality.
  • It reduces cognitive load, making your work more efficient.
  • You can use Copilot to find files, open apps, set reminders, or send emails with just a few words.
  • You can learn new things or get help with homework by asking Copilot to explain concepts, solve math problems, or generate text summaries.
  • In Paint, you can use Copilot to generate realistic images from text prompts using the DAL E3 model.
  • In Photos, professionally edit pictures with features like Generative Expand, Fill, and Erase.

Copilot For Bing And Edge

  • You can use the Bing Image Creator, powered by CoPilot and DAL E3, for crafting images for various purposes.
  • You need to specify your requirements, and Copilot will provide design suggestions.
  • Recommendations are based on your previous queries, enhancing search results.
  • Copilot remembers your user chat history for a more personalized search experience in Bing and Edge.
  • Bing and Edge include Content Credentials, a feature that adds watermarks to AI-generated images to establish authenticity and provenance.
  • Creators can attach extra information to images for recognition and transparency.

Microsoft Business Chat: ChatGPT for business

Microsoft 365 has integrated Copilot, a tool crafted to enhance employee efficiency and productivity. Integrated into various Microsoft applications, Copilot collaborates with users to accomplish tasks easily. The Business Chat feature within Microsoft 365 enables you to interact with Copilot using natural language prompts.

For instance, in a demonstration, Microsoft illustrated how Copilot can assist in preparing for a meeting. You can ask Copilot questions like “Did anything happen yesterday with Fabrikam?” through the chat feature in Microsoft Teams. Copilot then scans through Microsoft apps and SharePoint, providing a summary of relevant emails, meetings, and documents.

  • Business Chat goes beyond meeting summaries; it can also assist in more complex tasks, like creating a business plan.
  • Copilot utilizes context from structured and unstructured company data, including information from spreadsheets, email comments, and Teams calls. 
  • Copilot generated Q1 projections, risks, and even a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). You can actively engage, making corrections or additions as needed.

What do Employees Want From AI?

Every year, Microsoft conducts a global study called the Work Trend Index to understand the evolving landscape of work. This extensive research involves 31 countries and 31,000 participants. In the 2023 survey, employees were asked about their expectations from AI, and the responses were quite clear:

  • 86% of respondents want AI to assist them in finding information and answers.
  • 80% expressed a desire for AI to summarize meetings and highlight action items.
  • 79% see AI as a valuable tool for completing analytical work.
  • 76% are interested in using AI to handle technical administrative tasks.
  • 73% believe AI can contribute to enhancing creativity in their work.
  • 70% are open to AI assistance in planning their daily tasks.

Furthermore, the study explored participants’ vision for the future of work by 2030. When asked about desired changes to their work experience without extra effort on their part, the top priorities align closely with Microsoft’s aspirations for Microsoft 365 Copilot. These include making work more efficient and streamlined to meet the evolving needs and expectations of employees.

How Can Companies Get Ready For Microsoft 365 Copilot?

In order to initiate the current limited rollout of Microsoft 365 Copilot to enterprises, several prerequisites must be met:

  • Possession of an active subscription to Microsoft 365 E3 or E5.
  • Availability of an Azure Active Directory-based account.
  • Adoption of the new Outlook for Windows.
  • Utilization of either the desktop or web app version of Teams.
  • Utilization of the web version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, with desktop versions anticipated for future integration.

To maximize the functionality of Microsoft 365 Copilot, organizations are required to appropriately label their data, authorize Copilot to index said data, and establish retention policies. Microsoft aims to ensure the proper indexing and security of data to prevent unauthorized access by staff members.

For example, a financial report that’s stored in a SharePoint folder might go unnoticed. However, because Microsoft 365 Copilot can access all the data, it might bring up sensitive information, which could be a potential risk. To address this concern, it is crucial to implement data labeling, allowing organizations to safeguard sensitive files from unauthorized access by employees.

The Microsoft 365 Apps and Copilot

Microsoft uses Copilot to revolutionize the functionality of Excel within the Microsoft 365 suite. Despite being a widely utilized tool, Excel’s extensive capabilities often go untapped by a significant portion of users. With the introduction of Copilot for Excel, Microsoft aims to democratize data analysis by enabling users to employ natural language to interpret data. 

This enhancement will empower individuals to identify trends and extract insights without the need for extensive expertise, making the powerful features of Excel more accessible to a broader audience. 

1. Use Of Microsoft Copilot in Excel

Lets you have an Excel spreadsheet showing sales figures for the first quarter. With Copilot, you can easily analyze the data. For instance, you might ask Copilot, “Can you identify three key trends in the data?” Within seconds, Copilot provides you with a straightforward bullet-point list summarizing those trends.

Now, let’s say you want to delve deeper into one of those trends. Copilot can create a new sheet specifically focusing on the relevant data. But you should visualize it, too. Copilot understands this and suggests options like color coding and sparklines.

Alternatively, you can express your visualization preferences in your own words. Makes it convenient to explore and present your data in a way that suits your needs.

Microsoft Copilot in Excel

2. Use Of Microsoft Copilot in Word

Since the era of WordPerfect, the desire for a computer to autonomously generate content, particularly for monotonous tasks like crafting monthly reports, has been a longstanding wish. With the introduction of Copilot for Word, this aspiration is poised to become a reality. 

Copilot can automatically generate text based on provided data, such as creating proposals from OneNote notes and Excel files. Additionally, it can ensure that the generated content aligns with the established style of your existing documents. During Inspire 2023, Microsoft officially announced that Copilot would soon be integrated into Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Copilot in Word

3. Use Of Copilot in Outlook

Outlook’s upcoming Copilot feature is not just an advanced autocomplete tool; it’s designed to do much more. It goes beyond helping you sort through emails; it uses context to assist you in responding swiftly and clearly.

Imagine dealing with a crowded email chain where everyone is cc’d, making it a challenge to follow the conversation. Copilot in Outlook will simplify this chaos by summarizing the various replies, transforming disorganized information into something practical.

Microsoft is placing Outlook at the forefront of the Copilot revolution, introducing both a desktop application and a mobile version. According to Microsoft’s announcement in November 2023, Copilot in Outlook is expected to be available in early 2024.

Copilot in Outlook

4. Use Of Copilot For PowerPoint

Copilot is a tool that transforms everyday language into engaging presentations, complete with multiple slides, animations, transitions, and speaker notes. With just a simple click, Copilot streamlines presentations, allowing you to effortlessly adjust layouts, reformat text, and perfectly time transitions using natural language.

Additionally, Copilot boasts the capability to convert Word documents into PowerPoint presentations and vice versa. You can seamlessly transition between the two formats, enhancing flexibility and efficiency. 

Although there is no specific release date available for Copilot in PowerPoint at this time, the tool holds promise for simplifying the process of creating and adapting presentations. Participating in the Microsoft 365 Copilot early access program allows you to explore and test the innovative features before the official release.

Copilot For PowerPoint

What Are the Drawbacks Of Microsoft 365 Copilot?

It’s crucial to consider the implications carefully. Microsoft 365 Copilot’s effectiveness for businesses relies on its access to diverse data sources, such as communication channels like Teams and Outlook It, and storage platforms such as OneDrive and SharePoint.

Nevertheless, granting an AI access to this data introduces potential risks. What if an employee gains access to confidential information? Could a disgruntled staff member extract your entire sales strategy through strategic prompts? There’s also the concern of unintentionally sharing sensitive customer data, potentially violating data protection policies or laws.

NOTE: 

Before integrating Microsoft 365 Copilot into your operations, it’s essential to comprehend both the advantages and the associated risks fully. 

FAQs

Reach out to your designated sales representative to discuss Enterprise pricing and initiate the process. You’ll need a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license to get Copilot, so make sure to check with your sales rep about that, too.

Copilot, the AI chat service, is now accessible on Macs. However, to experience the complete capabilities of Microsoft 365 Copilot, you’ll have to await the release of the updated desktop Office apps on Macs. While specific dates for their availability are currently unavailable, a reasonable estimate would be early to mid-2024.

Download Copilot from the Microsoft 365 app store or the Microsoft Copilot website. Log in using your Microsoft 365 details, then go to settings and turn on Copilot. Open any Microsoft application like Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, and you’ll see the Copilot panel on the right side of the screen.

Yes, Microsoft Copilot, previously known as Bing Chat, is indeed accessible for free. However, the integration of Copilot into specific Microsoft applications may come with associated costs. For instance, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is available for enterprise customers at an additional charge of $30 per user per month.

Final Verdict

Microsoft 365 Copilot emerges as a game-changer, reshaping the way you interact with Windows 11, Microsoft 365, Edge, and Bing. From enhancing data analysis in Excel to revolutionizing content generation in Word, Copilot showcases its versatility. 

However, businesses must weigh the advantages against potential risks, ensuring data security. As Copilot expands its reach beyond core applications, the future promises increased efficiency and personalized learning. The future is promising, and these advancements will make us more efficient. It is a better way to work and learn!

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