December 21, 2023

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Why consider using Microsoft 365 Copilot?

  • Enhance your productivity
    • Ease digital overload – make use of powerful large language models (LLMs) and your work data
    • Get more out of meetings
      • Be more engaged in a meeting – converse with Copilot to quickly find information during a meeting
      • Catch up quickly on meetings you miss – ask for a Recap of a meeting
    • Quickly catch up – summarize long email threads & quickly draft suggested replies
  • Amplify your creativity
    • Strengthen your writing – make use of suggested content or summarization
    • Bring your ideas to life – organize a presentation from an outline
    • Analyze and explore data – identify trends, create powerful visualizations, or ask for recommendations
  • Take advantage of responsible, secure AI
    • Architected to protect – comprehensive enterprise compliance & security controls
    • Comprehensive security – your security is inherited and follows all the compliance & privacy policies already setup for you in Microsoft 365
    • Keeps you in control – AI offers suggestions which you can use, modify or discard.

Source: Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 – Overview

How to get Copilot

At the moment, a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license is required to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365.  Pricing is $30 per user/month.  Why this may seem steep to some, how much is your employees time worth?  If they save even one hour of work a month (assuming their pay rate is $30 per hour or $62,400 per year) this easily pays for itself.  If they save more time per month, you are increasing employee productivity and saving money.  The real requirement that is likely to mean your business may not be ready for Copilot yet is the 300 seat minimum purchase requirement.  I am hoping that Microsoft will reduce this quantity at some point in the future.

Where you can use Copilot

Once you have a Copilot license, you should be able to use it in Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  The Copilot for Work site suggests that you can use it to

  • Get clarity – Reduce the noise by compiling Teams messages on a specific topic complete with bullet points
  • Grow your knowledge – Get an explanation of a topic from either a beginner’s or expert’s point of view
  • Update your team faster – Summarize a recent meeting and draft an email with highlights for the team
  • Generate new ideas – Ask Copilot to suggest compelling taglines based on your marketing documents and first draft

I am still trying to confirm some of the other requirements for using Copilot, but it does look like there are some limitations as to where/how you can use the product.  For example, if you want to use it in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, at this point you either need to be using the web version of the application, or have the file stored in OneDrive or SharePoint.  I think this makes some sense, as Copilot needs to have web access to your data in order to work.  However this may not be intuitive to everyone.

Source: Copilot for Work

Copilot in Teams

Once you are using Copilot for Teams you should be able to

  • Summarize perspectives expressed in a meeting, chat, channel or call
  • Organize meeting action items
  • Weigh pros and cons of new suggestions brought up in conversations
  • Ask simple open-ended questions like “What decisions have been made so far?”
  • Generate a list of insightful questions to ask people in a meeting, call, or channel

Once your organization has Copilot set up for you, you may have to manually add Microsoft 365 Chat to Teams by selecting Apps on the left and typing “Copilot” in the search bar.  Locate M365 Chat and select Add.  Then to use M365 Chat, find it on the left side of Teams and select it.

Source: Get started with Microsoft 365 Chat in Microsoft Teams.

Copilot in Outlook

Outlook advantages include

  • Draft a reply to an email to let your team know about key information
  • Translate an email response for sending to an audience from a different country
  • Summarize long email conversations

Soon you will be able to follow a meeting that you can’t attend and notified when the meeting summary is available in Copilot.

Copilot in Word

Advantage in Word should include

  • Analyze a document for details such as project challenges or opportunities
  • Generate a different take on an existing file
  • Ask for high-level edits to make your writing as clear and polished as possible
  • Summarize a document and get key insights
  • Generate or rework a client brief

Copilot in Excel

What you can do in Excel

  • Review, filter, format, sort, and edit data (in a table)
  • Implement conditional formatting
  • Make sheet-wide updates
  • Visualize key insights
  • Produce charts

Copilot in PowerPoint

From PowerPoint you will be able to

  • Identify key takeaways
  • Organize your presentation into sections for greater impact
  • Create a new presentation based off of files and inputs
  • Create consistency in fonts or by adding images to the entire deck

Be aware of limitations

All of the potential with the AI capabilities of Copilot are exciting!  However it is important to be aware of some of the potential drawbacks.  AI-produced content may contain inaccuracies, biases, or sensitive materials.  AI may not know about recent events yet.  It may struggle to understand text like sarcasm, irony, or humor.

It is important that you review any content the AI generates for you to make sure that the content it has produced for you is accurate and what you wanted. Currently Copilot in M365 should be available to select audiences worldwide but has some limitations on the number of languages it understands instructions in.

Microsoft is encouraging people who use Copilot to help them improve the features by providing feedback through the normal app feedback channels.

Sources: Unleash your productivity with AI and Microsoft Copilot, Copilot for Microsoft 365 supported languages


You can be assured that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance, and privacy.  Your data is not used to train the foundation large language models that Copilot uses.

For more information see Data, Privacy, and Security for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365


In my opinion, a very exciting development with hopes of changing the way we work!  Keep tuned to this blog, posted as Business Data Bytes on LinkedIn for more information about when Microsoft Copilot will become available for smaller businesses and updates on how others are successfully using this new technology!