What is Dall-E and what it’ll do for Microsoft 365 customers

You’re going to hear a lot about Dall-E in the coming weeks and months because Microsoft is adding it to new services for Microsoft 365 (Designer) and Bing.  Before the Redmond hype gets too enthusiastic, let’s look at what Dall-E is, what it can do for you and the fun to be had.

In short, Dall-E turns text into an image with often good and sometimes funny results.

Dall-E converts a text request like “Laptop in Ancient Greece” into an image, like this.

The Dall-E is an open-source that’s been going, in various forms for the last four years but only recently gone fully public.  Microsoft has been a contributor to the project, which explains why they’ve quickly integrated the system into their own cloud services.

The upcoming Microsoft Designer will include Dall-E tech (called “Generate Image”) and so will Bing’s Image Creator.

It has a huge library of images with descriptions plus a lot of “AI” voodoo to produce pictures.  There’s been a lot of focus on the fun or strange Dall-E results but, as it becomes more widely available it’ll be used for more sensible and practical purposes.

It’s also possible to upload your own images then adjust them with Dall-E, for example put a person, product or object into various locations. I’ll show an example with one of my own photos below.

Any Dall-E image can be downloaded as a PNG file. Insert that image into any Office document, sheet, slide or email.

Fun Dall-E

You might have seen some fun examples already on social media such as:

Stained Glass

Dall-E’s ‘stained glass’ effect is a favorite, for example “Turtles on stained glass”.

Ask for an image using the style of a famous painter (Picasso, Matisse, Da Vinci etc) or a general type (“pencil sketch”, “collage”)


The Dall-E ‘Outpainting’ feature which extends the look of an image, for example this ‘wide-screen’ version of a famous Vermeer painting.

Expand a photo to a panorama

Outpainting is not just for paintings, you can expand any photo to a wide-angled panorama.  Here’s one of my own photos from Antarctica, looking from the bridge of the Kapitan Khlebnikov in an ice-pack.

Source: Peter Deegan

Dall-E took that photo and expanded it to a wonderful, though fictional, panorama.

Source: Peter Deegan and Dall-E outpainting

Dall-E misunderstanding

Sometimes Dall-E doesn’t understand a word in context, like “Mac” as in “Mac and Cheese”.

Or ‘salmon’

For more details of what Dall-E can do, see https://openai.com/blog/dall-e/   A free trial is available now (the waitlist has ended) with some credits available for the first three months of use, https://openai.com/api/pricing/

Or just wait until Microsoft makes it available in some form via Microsoft Designer. It remains to be seen how much of Dall-E will be available from Microsoft’s servers. The company is wary of misuse, both the PR troubles that could arise and legal liability.

Weird and Wonderful Dall-E

There are social media feeds devoted to weird and wonderful Dall-E results:



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