The day-to-day operation of an office often involves creating numerous documents using common office automation tools, with Microsoft Office being the most commonly used. Within these documentation and calculation processes, there are repetitive and basic actions that offer significant time-saving potential. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence enable us to harness this potential to streamline our work, as demonstrated in our previous article on Security Copilot. Now, let’s explore Microsoft 365 Copilot, the new productivity tool presented by Microsoft, designed to enhance efficiency and reduce time spent on tasks.
What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Microsoft 365 Copilot is an artificial intelligence tool that combines LLMs (Large Language Models) with data from your emails, chats, calendars, documents, meetings and other Microsoft Graph data.
Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 applications, allowing you to use natural text to request analysis and actions based on your data. After performing the requested action, Copilot always provides the option to review the result before accepting or rejecting it.
Currently, Microsoft 365 Copilot is integrated with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. It also includes Business Chats, with future developments expected, such as integration with Microsoft Viva Engage.
It is important to note that Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently in the testing phase and is available to a limited number of customers selected by Microsoft. Specifically, it is being tested by 20 customers, including 8 from the Fortune 500.
Microsoft plans to expand the user base in the coming months, but there is no confirmed launch date for providing access to any customer who wishes to sign up or try it out.
Now, let’s explore some of the uses and advantages that Copilot offers in various Microsoft Suite solutions.
Copilot in Microsoft Word
When creating documents in Microsoft Word, Copilot assists with writing, editing, summarizing, and generating content based on natural language requests.
Copilot enables us to draft initial versions, rewrite sections, adjust tone, enhance conciseness, strengthen arguments, and improve language usage, all in a simple and efficient manner.
For instance, some example requests include:
“Generate a two-page project proposal draft using another document and a specific datasheet.”
“Condense and modify the tone of the third paragraph to achieve a more casual document style.”
“Compose a one-page draft based on a given idea.”
Copilot in Microsoft Excel
For data analysis in Microsoft Excel, Copilot offers the ability to ask questions in natural language instead of relying on knowledge and usage of available formulas. Additionally, Copilot suggests new formulas, comments on correlations, and indicates potential scenarios. This allows for generating models based on the questions asked without modifying the original data.
Copilot helps identify patterns, create data visualizations, and provide recommendations.
For example, some requests within Excel could be:
“Plan the impact of a variable change and generate a graph for visualization.”
“Create a summary of sales by type and channel and insert a table with the results.”
“Model the impact on margins with a change in the growth rate of a variable.”
Copilot in Microsoft Power Point
In Microsoft PowerPoint, Copilot simplifies presentation creation from a single idea. It can generate presentations from documents, including comments for presenters, fonts, or create complete presentations from simple text or ideas. Copilot also supports natural language requests for editing formatting, alignment, and other visual elements.
For example, some requests within PowerPoint could be:
“Create a 5-slide presentation based on a Word document with relevant images.”
“Summarize this presentation in 3 slides.”
“Reformat these three points into three columns, each with an accompanying image.”
Copilot in Microsoft Outlook
Let’s now see what Copilot allows us to do in Microsoft Outlook.
Using our emails, Copilot enables us to analyze threads and conversations in Outlook, synthesizing ideas and facilitating email responses. Copilot assists by summarizing email threads with individual opinions and conclusions. Additionally, it allows us to respond to emails with an initial idea or create new emails based on our notes.
Some examples of requests we can make to Copilot in Outlook are:
“Summarise the emails I missed while I was on holiday and mark any important emails.”
“Make a draft reply to this last email. Ask to clarify the second and third points. Make this draft shorter and more professional.”
“Invite everyone to a lunch and presentation about our products this Thursday. Mention that lunch is included.”
Copilot in Microsoft Teams
When conducting meetings in Microsoft Teams, Copilot can enhance them by suggesting key points to discuss, summarising agreed key actions, or summarising the overall conversation.
In addition, in Microsoft Teams chats, Copilot provides answers to concise questions. It also summarises conversations you haven’t seen yet, without interrupting the natural flow of conversation.
Among its features, Copilot also allows us to easily create agendas and meeting notes, select key people for the next steps and plan future Teams meetings.
Some examples of requests we can make to Copilot in Microsoft Teams are:
“Summarise what I missed in the meeting, what points have been made so far, and what did we disagree on?.”
“Create a table listing the advantages and disadvantages of the topic we’re discussing. What other factors should we consider before making a decision?”
“Provide an update on the decisions made and outline the next steps to be taken.”
Business Chats What are they and how do they work?
In addition to the integrations mentioned above, Microsoft 365 Copilot has developed a new tool, the Business Chats.
This functionality works on all your data and documents. It allows you to connect all these elements to make queries, generate new documents, summarise ideas, and keep the focus on the business, without having to focus on the tools.
Business Chats can be accessed from Microsoft Teams, although currently, only Microsoft-selected customers can access Business Chats.
Some examples of the requests we can make to Business Chats are:
“Summarise the chats, emails, and documents about the escalation that a certain customer did in the last week.”
“What is the next milestone in this project?”
“Are there any risks identified? Give me ideas of possible mitigations.”
“Write a new plan in the style of this file that contains a timeline found in this other file and incorporates the list of projects in this email from this person.”
Microsoft 365 Copilot, a great potential
Microsoft 365 Copilot is still in an experimental and testing phase, but it has a long way to go and will not be available to the public for some time, but we can affirm that its different functionalities have a great potential to save time and facilitate day-to-day office work, always under the supervision of the users, who are the ones who have the last word and approve and finish the work that Copilot starts.
Daniel Morales Fitó – Cloud Engineer at Itequia
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