What Microsoft 365 Copilot can really do for you - not just the hype
Strip away the hype and vague promises for the upcoming Microsoft Copilot and see what these AI features can do for you.
As regular Office Watch readers know, we prefer to talk about products we can use ourselves. Until we can do that, we’ve stripped away the considerable Copilot hype to show a little bit of what it specifically promises.
Copilot has NOT been released … not yet anyway. Presumably it’ll first appear in the Insiders beta track for Microsoft 365 users.
There’s likely to be differences between Copilot for business and education customers and Microsoft 365 consumers.
To use Copilot, you’ll need Microsoft 365 with an Internet connection and, likely, documents saved on Microsoft services (OneDrive/SharePoint etc).
Interestingly, the commercial customer product Copilot for Microsoft Viva comes with a note that “We will share more about pricing and details in the coming months.”, note the word ‘pricing’.
Microsoft advance promo repeatedly uses the phrase “some example commands and prompts you can try:” but most people don’t have Copilot to test. We’ll quote those examples because they give a better idea of what Copilot can do than Microsoft flowery phrases.
All images in this article are from Microsoft (since we can’t try Copilot ourselves) but in some cases we’ve cropped and enlarged to make Copilot feature clearer.
Copilot can write, edit or summarize Word documents. Or take other Office content (like OneNote meeting notes and Word doc) to make a new document.
Auto-generated content has a mini-toolbar at the bottom.
These appear in Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook too.
- Draft a two-page project proposal based on the data from [a document] and [a spreadsheet].
- Make a paragraph more concise.
- Change the tone of the document to be more casual, professional, passionate or thankful.
- Create a one-page draft based on a rough outline.
Copilot should be able to analyze and explore data, find correlations, suggest useful ‘what-if’ scenarios.
That’s already possible to a limited extent with the Excel Ideas.
- Ask for recommendations to achieve certain outcomes (values)
- Breakdown of the sales by type and channel then insert a table.
- Project the impact of [a variable change] then generate a chart.
- Model how a change to the growth rate for a variable (sales) impact another variable ( gross margin)
Copilot for Powerpoint is about condensing and arranging long-form documents into shorter and more visual slides.
This video was leaked earlier and we analyzed it closely see Inside Copilot for PowerPoint.
- Type requests to adjust slides or presentation layouts, reformat text or time animations.
- Create a multi-slide presentation based on a Word document with relevant stock photos ( see animation above)
- Consolidate a longer presentation into a shorter slide summary.
- Reformat bullet points into columns, each with a picture.
Copilot can write emails for you …
Type into Copilot …
“Ask Lilly to be a last minute presenter for the supply chain all-hands tomorrow”
After a reminder to “review before sending”, Copilot suggests …
“Apologies for the short notice but our original presenter at the supply chain all-hands tomorrow had to cancel last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Is there any chance you could present instead? We would be extremely grateful for your help and I realize this is very last minute.
Please let us know as soon as possible if you can make this work and thank you in advance.”
See the new Copilot to make PowerPoint decks – a sneak peek