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What is Microsoft 365 Copilot: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding and effectively utilizing Microsoft 365 Copilot – Microsoft’s advanced generative AI tool – is essential for numerous organizations in the upcoming years. Simply providing access to this sophisticated AI assistant for yourself or your team isn’t enough to fully leverage its capabilities.

Microsoft 365 Copilot can really help your team get more work done and do it better. A study by Microsoft found that 70% of people who use Copilot think it makes them work faster. Plus, 68% say it makes their work better.

But, just like any tool, you need to set it up right and use it the right way. Here’s the best guide to get all the good stuff from Copilot in Microsoft 365.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot? A Quick Overview

Before we dive into how to use Microsoft 365 Copilot well, let’s clear up some confusion. Microsoft 365 Copilot is different from “Microsoft Copilot.” Microsoft has a bunch of different “Copilot” versions for various needs.

These include Microsoft Copilot (which used to be called Bing Chat/Bing Chat Enterprise), Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot, Copilot for Sales, and Copilot for Service.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is the one that adds AI features to your Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Outlook, and Teams. It has similar basic features as the other Copilot versions, like being able to search the web and protect business data.

But it also follows your Microsoft 365 rules for security, privacy, and following the law, and it helps users while they work in specific tools.

Microsoft 365 Copilot gives your team smart help in real-time. It uses big language models, pre-made models, and data from Microsoft Graph. You can add it to your Microsoft 365 subscription for $30 per user each month. This includes the new “Microsoft Copilot Studio” which lets you customize AI without needing lots of coding.

How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot?

If you want to use Microsoft 365 Copilot, you have to pay $30 for each user every month as an extra fee, plus you need a Microsoft 365 license. If you already use Microsoft 365 E3, E5, or Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, you probably have what you need.

As an admin, you can give licenses to users. You do this in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, under “Billing > Licenses.” You can also use the Azure Admin Center or PowerShell to assign licenses.

Other prerequisites include:

  • Microsoft Entra ID: Every user needs a Microsoft Entra ID, which was previously called Azure Active Directory. You can handle these accounts through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
  • OneDrive Accounts: Some Microsoft 365 Copilot features need users to have a OneDrive account. This is especially important for features that involve sharing and saving files.
  • Outlook Accounts: Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to work with the new Outlook experience for Windows and Mac. Users should switch to this new Outlook service, which is currently in preview.
  • Microsoft Teams: If you want to use Copilot with Teams, users should have either the desktop or web version of the Teams app. Copilot supports both the existing version of Teams and the new one.
  • Microsoft Loop: To use Copilot with Microsoft Loop, you need to turn on the Loop service for your organization. Microsoft has provided instructions on how to do this.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard: For using Copilot features in Whiteboard, you need to enable the Whiteboard service for your organization.

Using Microsoft 365 Copilot in Each Microsoft App

All the features of Copilot in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem are built on the same technology. But, the generative AI assistant is smart enough to change its approach based on the app it’s in. This way, it gives specific solutions for different kinds of tasks.

Let’s look at how you can use Microsoft 365 Copilot in each productivity app.

1. How to Use Copilot in Word

In Word, Microsoft 365 Copilot really changes the game by making your content better and more creative. It lets users summarize, create, improve, and add to their documents. You can use this app to make your documents stand out, turn text into tables, and even add visuals.

Plus, you can start new documents and use up to 3 other documents as references. This helps make sure everything you write is consistent with your other work. You can also use Copilot in Word to see changes and edits that your team has made to documents you’re all working on together.

2. Using Copilot in PowerPoint

With PowerPoint, Copilot helps teams turn their ideas into great presentations. It can change written documents into slide decks complete with speaker notes. Or, it can create entirely new presentations just from a prompt you give it. Plus, if you have a long presentation, Copilot can make it shorter with just one click. You can also tell it in plain language to change the text, layout, animations, and more.

Another cool thing about PowerPoint’s Copilot is that it works with DALL-E, the image generator from OpenAI, to make custom images for your slides. And Microsoft is adding a new library for assets and images. This means you can easily add your company’s branding to your presentations.

3. How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot in Excel

In Excel, Copilot is like having a smart assistant to help you look at and understand your data. You can ask the app questions about the data you have, and it will show you patterns, suggest new formulas, and even come up with “what-if” scenarios for you to think about. Plus, it can make new formulas from your questions, which helps you dig into your data without changing it.

And there’s more exciting news – the new “Python in Excel” feature is going to work with Copilot. This means users can do really advanced math and analysis using Python, which is one of the most powerful programming languages out there.

4. Using Copilot in Outlook

Outlook’s Copilot feature is like having a personal assistant for your email. It helps you quickly handle your inbox and communicate better. The app can sum up long email threads, point you to the key parts of these summaries, and suggest actions, replies, and things you need to follow up on.

In 2024, Outlook’s Copilot is getting even better. It’ll be able to make summaries of email threads, write meeting agendas, come up with catchy titles for meetings, and suggest who should be at those meetings. Plus, it can look at everyone’s calendars to find times when everyone is free for a meeting. It also helps you get ready for meetings by going through related emails, important documents, and details about the meeting. This makes sure you have all the info you need.

5. How to Use Copilot in Teams

Copilot for Teams is one of the most advanced versions of Microsoft’s AI app. This assistant can do a lot of helpful things, like summing up conversations, sorting out the main points and things that need to be done, picking people for follow-ups, and making meeting plans.

Starting in 2024, Microsoft 365 Copilot will let you take group notes during meetings and catch specific things people say, like “Quote Rob.” If you don’t want to keep a full record, you can turn on Copilot without the transcription feature. Plus, in Teams channels, Copilot can make sense of long posts, write messages in different styles, and do more.

There’s also a cool feature called Intelligent Recap with Copilot in Teams. This helps you catch up on meetings you missed by giving you summaries of the key decisions, tasks to do, and important points.

6. How to use Microsoft 365 Copilot in Whiteboard

In Whiteboard, Copilot is a big help when you’re brainstorming and coming up with ideas. It can create ideas, sort them into categories, and sum them up for you. Also, when you use Whiteboard during a Teams meeting, Copilot can automatically write down and show the main points that people talk about. It’s smart enough to organize these points in a way that fits the meeting, making it easier for you to understand and remember them.

7. Using Copilot in Microsoft Loop

Copilot in Loop, which is Microsoft’s latest app for teamwork, makes it easier for teams to work well together. Loop offers a versatile space where people and AI can collaborate. Users can come up with prompts for Copilot as a group, arrange team tasks, sum up what’s important, and make summaries of meetings. This helps everyone stay on the same page and work more efficiently.

Additionally, Copilot in Loop includes a smart feature for creating pages. It can suggest pages from your past work and tweak them to fit your current project. This means you can quickly start new tasks with a base that’s already familiar, saving time and effort.

8. How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot in OneNote

In OneNote, Copilot is a great tool to help you with planning, organizing, and handling your notes. It can pick out important tasks from your notes and even answer questions you have about them. For example, you can ask Copilot to make your writing clearer or to sum up your notes.

9. Using Microsoft 365 Chat and Intelligent Search

Microsoft 365 Chat uses big language models and the internet to help you get more done. It can help you write stuff, catch up on things you missed, and find answers to your questions.

Intelligent Search lets you search all your Dataverse apps, like Dynamics 365 Sales, just by asking in regular language.

10. Power Platform and Graph Connectors

With the Power Platform in Microsoft 365, businesses can use Copilot to get data from important apps in real-time. You can also link outside data to Microsoft Graph. For each Copilot license, you can connect up to 500 items, which helps with smart search and sorting your data.

How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot: Tips for Success

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to use Microsoft 365 Copilot and its features, it’s time to make your work processes even better. We’ve gathered some great tips for success based on what Microsoft says and our own experience with the Copilot apps. Let’s dive into these tips to help you get the most out of Copilot.

1. Learn How to Prompt the Copilot Effectively

Using the right prompts is crucial for a good experience with any big language model like Copilot. If you’re new to these kinds of tools, it’s a good idea to look at the suggested prompts Microsoft has shared. You can find these on their website or in the Microsoft Copilot Lab.

When you’re using Copilot, think about what you want to get from it. Be clear about your goal to give the app a better idea of what to do. It’s also important to:

  • Set the Stage: When using Copilot, provide as much relevant information and context as possible. For example, if you’re making an agenda for a meeting, tell Copilot what the meeting is about, your goals, who’s involved, and the topics you’ll cover.
  • Define Parameters: Make it clear which sources and data Copilot should use for the best answers. Point to specific files, or say which time periods to focus on. You can even ask Copilot to explain how it came up with an answer.
  • Tell Copilot How to Talk to You: Let the app know how you want it to respond. For instance, you could say, “Explain this like I’m a beginner coder.”
  • Iterate and Experiment: Talk to Copilot like you would in a real conversation. Ask it to change something, edit its response, or go into more detail about a topic. Keep guiding it to make sure you get the results you need.

2. Turbocharge Adoption with the Right Strategy

The excitement around Copilots and similar AI tools will likely make many of your team members eager to try them out. But, not everyone might feel at ease using AI. That’s why it’s important to explain the benefits, train your teams, and give them the right info.

Think about the different kinds of people in your workforce and what worries or questions they might have about using Copilot. For example, if your top executives are worried about security, you can reassure them by explaining that Copilot doesn’t use customer data for training its tools.

If some employees are worried about AI taking over their jobs, encourage them by showing them how Microsoft 365 Copilot can actually make their work better and easier. Remember, according to Microsoft’s Work Index:

  • 70% of employees are interested in using AI to plan their day.
  • 73% would like AI to boost their creativity at work.
  • 76% are seeking AI assistance with technical and administrative tasks.
  • 79% want AI support for analytical work.
  • 80% hope to use AI for summarizing meetings and action items.
  • 86% are keen on using AI to help find information and answers.

3. Customize the Copilot Experience

To make sure you’re using Microsoft 365 Copilot effectively, it’s crucial to feed it the right information. Remember, an AI tool is only as good as the data it uses. Copilot gets its info from Microsoft’s large language models (LLMs) and the Microsoft Graph.

Setting up your content with the Microsoft Graph, using tools like Search, Viva Topics, and SharePoint, will help you point Copilot to the most reliable and useful content.

You can also tailor Microsoft 365 Copilot more to your company’s specific needs with Copilot Studio. This low-code tool lets businesses adjust their Copilot for their own unique situations and challenges. Plus, you can create, try out, and launch your own custom versions of GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformers).

Copilot Studio is part of your Microsoft 365 Copilot subscription, and it’s designed to make the AI’s answers even more relevant and helpful for your team’s work.

4. Keep Copilot Secure

Microsoft is committed to “Responsible AI” with Microsoft 365 Copilot, focusing on keeping you in control of your data. This means that the AI, including the bots and large language models (LLMs), is not trained using your private business information. However, it’s still important for you to ensure the right level of security is in place.

Educate your team members on using Microsoft 365 securely. They should be aware of not sharing sensitive business information more than necessary. Also, encourage your administrators to use the security features available in the Microsoft ecosystem.

For example, admins can utilize Microsoft Purview to set sensitivity labels and create retention policies for different types of content. You have the ability to establish your own retention and archiving rules on Teams and the web versions of your Microsoft apps. Additionally, you can implement access controls, multi-factor authentication, and other security measures for every Microsoft 365 user. These steps will help maintain the security and integrity of your data while using Copilot.

5. Remember the Limitations of Copilot

Once you get the hang of using Microsoft 365 Copilot effectively, you should see some amazing results. Microsoft reports that Copilot can speed up your work, boost creativity, and even make onboarding new team members easier. But, it’s important to remember that Copilot isn’t perfect. It has its limits.

Like any AI tool that generates content, Copilot doesn’t always know what’s a “good” or “bad” answer. It only gives you information based on what data it has access to. So, if there’s incorrect info in your Microsoft documents, Copilot might also give you wrong answers.

That’s why it’s really important to think about what data you’re asking Copilot to use. Also, make sure to check the answers it gives you and think about whether they’re right. Don’t just assume that everything the Copilot says is accurate.

How to drive Microsoft 365 Copilot adoption?

Driving adoption of Microsoft 365 Copilot in your organization involves a few key strategies:

  • Educate and Train: Provide training sessions and resources to help employees understand what Microsoft 365 Copilot is, how it works, and the benefits it offers. Clear demonstrations of its capabilities can help spark interest and show its practical uses.
  • Start with Pilot Groups: Begin with pilot groups or departments that are most likely to benefit from Copilot. Gather feedback from these groups and use their experiences as case studies to encourage wider adoption.
  • Integration into Workflows: Show how Copilot can be integrated into existing workflows. When employees see how it can make their tasks easier or more efficient, they’re more likely to use it.
  • Address Security and Privacy Concerns: Ensure that all employees understand how Copilot adheres to the organization’s security and privacy policies. This will help alleviate any concerns they may have.
  • Encourage Exploration and Feedback: Encourage employees to experiment with Copilot and provide channels for them to share their experiences and feedback. This not only improves user experience but also helps in tailoring the tool to specific organizational needs.
  • Highlight Success Stories: Share success stories and positive outcomes from using Copilot. This can motivate others to try it out.
  • Provide Support and Resources: Make sure there is adequate support for employees who are new to Copilot. This could include help desks, FAQs, and user guides.
  • Leadership Endorsement: Getting endorsement and regular use of Copilot by leadership can significantly influence broader adoption among employees.
  • Regular Updates and Communication: Keep everyone informed about new features and best practices for using Copilot. Regular communication helps keep the momentum going.
  • Incorporate Feedback into Development: Show that you value employee feedback by incorporating it into future training and possibly even into the development of the tool itself.

How Does Microsoft 365 Copilot Handle Security and Privacy?

Microsoft Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365, ensuring it meets all the established security and privacy standards of Microsoft 365. This integration into Microsoft’s trusted framework for enterprise-grade security, privacy, identity, compliance, and responsible AI confirms that it’s prepared for enterprise use. Here’s what this means for your organization:

  • Inherits Existing Policies: Copilot follows the security, privacy, identity, and compliance policies already set up in your Microsoft 365 environment. This seamless integration ensures consistency in how data is handled and protected across your organization.
  • Data Control and Isolation: Your data remains logically isolated and secure within your Microsoft 365 tenant. This setup ensures that your data is not only protected but also remains under your control, maintaining your organization’s data governance standards.
  • Tenant-Level Permission Policies: At the tenant level, Copilot adheres to the individual and group permission policies established in your organization. This means it respects the access controls and permissions you’ve set, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to specific data and functionalities.

OpenAI ChatGPT Vs Microsoft 365 Copilot – Comparison

What is ChatGPT?

OpenAI introduced ChatGPT, an AI-powered tool that lets you have conversations like you would with a human. It’s designed to gather and generate information and data through chat.

The “GPT” in ChatGPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer.” This means it’s been trained on a huge amount of human language from sources like the internet, including books, articles, websites, and even social media.

ChatGPT is a special version of the GPT model made by OpenAI, focused on understanding and generating natural language in a way that’s good for conversations. It’s been trained with lots of text from the internet, so it can give responses that sound like they’re from a human. ChatGPT can answer questions, have a chat, create text, and more. This makes it really handy for all sorts of tasks where you need to process or create natural language.

OpenAI has come out with different versions of GPT models, and ChatGPT is one of these versions. It’s a strong tool for creating chatbots, virtual assistants, content, and other applications where you need to deal with natural language in a conversational way. Developers and companies can use ChatGPT to make apps that talk to people through text.

How is ChatGPT different from Microsoft 365 Copilot?

ChatGPT and Microsoft 365 Copilot are both AI-driven language models, but they have different purposes and uses. ChatGPT is built for understanding and generating natural language, making it versatile for a variety of uses like chatbots and creating content.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Copilot is a coding assistant created especially for users of Microsoft 365. It helps with things like working together, making content, auto-completing, and documentation in Office 365 applications. While ChatGPT is focused on general natural language tasks and can be used through APIs, Copilot is directly part of Microsoft 365 and is trained for tasks related to Office 365 apps.

ChatGPT’s training comes from a wide range of public data on the Internet. It learns from many different sources, including websites, books, articles, and other texts available online. This training covers a big variety of topics and languages.

In contrast, Microsoft 365 Copilot uses a Large Language Model (LLM) and data from your Microsoft 365 environment. This means Copilot uses your emails, documents, and your company’s data structure to give answers that are specific to what you need.

What Does the Security of Your Data Look Like in ChatGPT Vs. Microsoft Copilot?

When it comes to using Generative AI like ChatGPT or Microsoft 365 Copilot, the security and privacy of your data are major concerns.

With OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a publicly available service, it’s important to remember that any data you share is subject to their Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. OpenAI may collect information about you and your use of ChatGPT to improve their product.

This means if you use organization data in ChatGPT, there’s a risk involved. You might lose control over what happens with your data, which can be a concern for businesses and individuals alike.

In contrast, tools like Bing Chat Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Copilot are designed with Commercial Data Protection in mind. They aim to provide a safer way for you to use your organization’s data. This focus on security means these tools are more suitable for business environments where protecting sensitive information is crucial.

When to Use ChatGPT

ChatGPT can be used for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Answering Questions: It provides answers to factual queries or explains concepts.
  • Text Generation: Useful for creating content, writing, or storytelling.
  • Language Translation: It can translate text between different languages.
  • Summarization: ChatGPT can condense long articles or documents.
  • Conversational Agents: Ideal for developing chatbots and virtual assistants for customer support.
  • Content Recommendations: Suggests content, articles, or products based on preferences.
  • Text Completion: Assists in completing sentences or paragraphs.
  • Language Understanding: Analyzes sentiment or intent in text.
  • Language Correction: Corrects grammar and spelling in text.
  • Coding Assistance: Helps with programming queries and generating code.

When to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot

Microsoft 365 Copilot is tailored for tasks related to Microsoft 365 applications:

  • Word: Creates drafts from prompts.
  • Excel: Lets users query data sets in natural language.
  • PowerPoint: Transforms documents into slide decks or creates presentations from prompts.
  • Outlook: Summarizes email threads and helps respond to emails.
  • SharePoint: Assists in creating sites using prompts and design guidelines.
  • Meetings: Summarizes meetings in Microsoft Teams, answers questions, and creates agendas.
  • Chat: Synthesizes information from chat threads and responds to specific queries or suggested prompts.

Both tools have distinct uses and are beneficial in different scenarios, with ChatGPT focusing on general language tasks and Microsoft 365 Copilot being specialized for Microsoft 365 applications.

How to Use Microsoft 365 Copilot – The Right Way

Now that Microsoft 365 Copilot is widely available, a vast number of companies around the world will start discovering how to use it to boost and transform their teams. Research from Microsoft and various reviews and case studies from different companies show just how effective this tool can be.

Copilot has the potential to significantly enhance how your team uses key apps, ranging from Word to Teams. It can cut down the time spent on repetitive tasks that sap energy, while also sparking more creativity in your employees.

However, for Copilot to be truly effective, it needs to be used properly. Make sure your team members know how to use Copilot across all the Microsoft 365 apps we’ve talked about. Keep up with the latest updates and developments in each app, and follow our top tips to ensure you’re protecting, enabling, and supporting your workforce with this powerful tool.


Q1. How do I get Copilot in Microsoft 365 apps?

To get Copilot in Microsoft 365 apps, you need to subscribe to a Microsoft 365 plan that includes Copilot as a feature.

Q2. Is the content Copilot produces original?

The content Copilot produces is original. It’s generated based on its training and algorithms, although it might resemble existing internet content due to the nature of how AI models learn.

Q3. Is Copilot the same as ChatGPT?

Copilot and ChatGPT are related but not the same. ChatGPT is an AI language model from OpenAI. Microsoft has worked with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into its products, including Copilot and Designer.

Q4. Does Copilot learn from my data?

Yes, Copilot learns from your data to get better at helping you. But it doesn’t keep or share your data with others.

Q5. What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI assistant that helps with various tasks in Microsoft 365, like writing, editing, translating, and coding.

Q6. Who is Microsoft 365 Copilot for?

Copilot is meant for anyone who uses Microsoft 365 and wants to work more efficiently. This includes a wide range of professionals like writers, editors, developers, and business workers.

Q7. How does Microsoft 365 Copilot work?

Copilot works by using AI techniques like understanding natural language and learning from patterns in data. It can create text, translate languages, and help with creative tasks.

Q8. Is Microsoft 365 Copilot safe to use?

Yes, Microsoft 365 Copilot is safe. Microsoft has put in place several security measures like encryption and access controls to protect Copilot data.

Q9. How much does Microsoft 365 Copilot cost?

Microsoft 365 Copilot will cost $30 per user each month as an additional feature on top of your Microsoft 365 subscription.

Q10. When will Microsoft 365 Copilot be available?

Microsoft 365 Copilot was initially made available to Microsoft Enterprise customers. On January 16th, 2024, Microsoft expanded the availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot to include small and midsize organizations as well as individual users. This expansion allows a broader range of businesses and personal users to benefit from the AI-powered capabilities of Microsoft 365 Copilot in their everyday work within the Microsoft 365 suite.