Generative AI Is Coming to Word, Excel, and More


Microsoft has recently dominated the tech news cycle as a result of its $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, and a flurry of new products like Bing Chat. The Redmond behemoth isn't done either; it's getting ready to introduce a brand-new AI-powered assistant to its office suite. Dubbed Microsoft 365 Copilot, the feature will automate tasks like writing emails, summarizing meetings, and even making beautiful PowerPoint presentations. Even though it all seems too good to be true, Microsoft's initial demos show promise.

Microsoft Copilot 365 is a brand-new generative AI technology that helps with office chores including document drafting, spreadsheet updating, and meeting summaries. It can be found in a number of Microsoft 365 applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Here is a brief summary of Microsoft 365 Copilot's features:

-       Copilot may generate a whole document from a brief prompt. Write a cover letter for the position of a senior software developer, for instance.

-       Copilot for PowerPoint can assist cut down on text in slides, add AI-generated visuals, and condense a lengthy presentation into a small number of slides.

-       If you're working with a lot of data in Excel, Copilot can swiftly analyze it and produce a comprehensible graphic.

-       If you're working with a lot of data in Excel, Copilot can swiftly analyze it and produce a comprehensible graphic.

-       If your company utilizes Microsoft Teams, Copilot lets you ask about specific team members, catch up on unread chats, and summarize meetings.

-       In Microsoft's email software Outlook, Copilot can change the tone of your writing to appear formal, approachable, or any other way you like.

-       Microsoft has also incorporated Copilot into OneNote and Loop for digital note-takers. This integration might be compared to a virtual assistant you can ask to rapidly categorize, search for, and summarize your notes.

In addition to these instances, Microsoft has created Copilot to operate throughout the whole app library. As an illustration, you could ask Copilot to produce a report based on a different Excel file in a new Word document that you have created. Similar to this, you may request that Copilot import Microsoft Teams notes into OneNote and condense the text before adding it to a new note.

Microsoft 365 Copilot's approach may sound familiar because Google already offers Duet AI for Workspace, a service that competes with it. It's not as feature-rich as the Microsoft examples shown thus far, though. Here is a brief comparison of the AI-powered productivity features offered by Google and Microsoft today. Things may change in the future.

Microsoft 365 Copilot

Google Duet AI for Workspace

Supported apps

Entire Microsoft 365 Office suite plus Microsoft Teams

Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Google Meet


Can reference files across other Microsoft apps

Currently limited; Duet AI cannot see the contents of a different document or file

Image generation

Yes, via OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 image generator

Yes, presumed via Adobe Firefly

Language model

OpenAI GPT-4

Google PaLM 2

Current availability

Closed, private testing for paid customers

Available to general public for free via waitlist


On paper, Microsoft 365 Copilot appears to be quite promising, but the company hasn't yet made it available to the public. When the feature was first revealed in March 2023, a specific release date was not specified. A few months later, Microsoft has only recently begun distributing the functionality to a select set of trusted testers. In the beginning, Google used a similar approach with their generative AI feature.

The Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program has been publicized by the firm thus far. However, Microsoft isn't allowing members of the general public to sign up for access to Copilot, in contrast to the Bing Chat waitlist or Google's Bard chatbot that slowly became live. Instead, it's a limited-access program open exclusively to 600 paying users. That's correct, neither you nor I can just sign up to utilize Microsoft 365 Copilot for nothing.

It's unclear if Microsoft 365 Copilot will be free to use.

It's not yet known if Microsoft 365 Copilot will ever be available for free. It might nevertheless occur given the firm's aggressive AI effort with its chatbot and Bing Image Creator. Google is another rival of Microsoft, where anyone may freely sign up for a waitlist to immediately get generative AI in Google Search, Gmail, and Docs.

On the other hand, operating Microsoft's AI features is expensive. Large language models use up a lot of computational power, especially sophisticated ones like GPT-4. So it's simple to understand why using Copilot could require a revised Microsoft 365 subscription.


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