- Microsoft announces Copilot for Office apps.
- Copilot is a chatbot AI similar to Bing Chat but for work.
- The AI will come to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
Microsoft has announced the new Copilot feature that uses AI with ChatGPT (GPT-4) integration for its Office (Microsoft 365) apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
The Copilot is a chatbot similar to Bing Chat but designed for work. The feature appears on the right side of the Office apps to assist you in generating content for a document, email, presentation, and more.
The company has been testing the new chatbot with 20 organizations, and in the coming months, it’ll expand to more customers. Although Copilot is still under development, you may enable the feature on Excel, Word, and OneNote.
Copilot for Microsoft 365 apps
This is an overview of the capabilities the new Copilot brings to the suite of Office apps.
In Microsoft Word, Copilot will allow you to request and generate content. For instance, you can ask to generate content on a specific topic or based on the content from another document.
If you want to refine the content, you will be able to ask the chatbot to do the writing, and of course, you will be able to edit and adapt the content to make it yours.
Although the word processing app already comes with grammar and spelling checking, the new Copilot will also be able to check for mistakes and make suggestions based on your preferences to improve the crafting of the document.
In Microsoft Excel, Copilot will help you to make more sense of the information by allowing you to analyze and explore the data in the spreadsheet.
Similar to how you use Bing Chat, you will be able to ask virtually anything using natural language. The chatbot is also smart enough to suggest formulas based on your queries, predict “what if” scenarios, and find data correlations. In addition, you will be able to instantly create a SWOT analysis or a PivotTable based on data.
In Microsoft PowerPoint, the new chatbot will help you to create presentations based on a specific topic. It can convert a Word document into a presentation and a presentation into a Word document. Since the AI understands natural language, you can ask things like inserting animation into a slide or the entire presentation based on the context of your query.
In Outlook, Copilot will be able to generate emails automatically based on your request or the contents of an existing email you are trying to respond. You will able able to adjust the tone of the message. And the Copilot will be able to summarize “lengthy, convoluted email threads with multiple people to understand not only what has been said, but the different viewpoints of each person and the open questions that have yet to be answered. “
On Microsoft Teams, the chatbot will become your assistant that can generate a recap of the most important parts of the meeting. The Copilot in Teams will also be able to answer queries, suggest task delegation, and find the best schedule for the next meeting.
Microsoft is also introducing Business Chat, a new experience that connects to the Microsoft Graph to access all your data and apps (documents, presentations, email, calendar, notes, and contacts) to perform tasks that were impossible before.
The new Business Chat experience will be able to summarize information from meeting transcripts, recent contacts with customers, entries in your calendar, and more that you can then insert into presentations and emails.
The experience will be available from Microsoft365.com, Bing (as long as you’re signed in with a work account), and through Teams.
Business Chat is similar to the Bing Chat experience. It even includes similar footnotes to show the source of information, and users should even be able to update and correct entries.
How Copilot works
The company has also explained that it didn’t create Copilot by only plugging ChatGPT from OpenAI to Microsoft 365. The technology uses the “Copilot system,” which combines the Microsoft 365 apps with the Microsoft Graph data, plus the technology of ChatGPT version 4.
This is how Copilot works: if you query a question in Word, the chatbot will send the data to the Microsoft Graph to make sense of the context of the query, and then that data is sent to the ChatGPT language model. The answer is then sent to the Microsoft Graph for further grounding, security, and other checks before printing the answer to the users inside the app.
Microsoft also emphasizes that the new Copilot is not perfect and it’ll make mistakes. However, the company is touting the mistakes as something “usefully wrong” that will still give you a head start on the topic.