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Microsoft Announces AI-Powered ‘Copilot’ For Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams And More; What It Means For Users

Microsoft will also add a chat function called Business Chat, which resembles the popular ChatGPT. It takes commands and carries out actions — like summarizing an email about a particular project to co-workers — using user data.

Updated: March 17, 2023 10:50 AM IST

By Analiza Pathak | Edited by Analiza Pathak

Microsoft Announces AI-Powered 'Copilot' For Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams And More; What It Means For Users
Microsoft Announces AI-Powered 'Copilot' For Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams And More; What It Means For Users

Washington: Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence tools into its suite of office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook emails. According to the company, the new feature, named Copilot, is a processing engine that will allow users to do things like summarize long emails, draft stories in Word and animate slides in PowerPoint.

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The company is marketing the feature as a tool that will allow workers to be more productive by freeing up time they usually spend in their inbox, or allowing them to more easily analyze trends in Excel.

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“Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

How will Copilot work for users?

  1. Copilot in Word can write, edit and summarize alongside people as they work. In PowerPoint, it can turn ideas into a designed presentation through natural language commands. Additionally, it can add content to existing documents, summarise and/ or rewrite sections or the entire document to make it more concise.
  2. Copilot in Excel, it can help unlock insights and create professional-looking data visualizations in a fraction of the time. For example, users can ask questions, such as, “Give a breakdown of the sales by type and channel. Insert a table”, it will return “correlations, propose what-if scenarios, and suggest new formulas based on your questions—generating models based on your questions that help you explore your data without modifying it.”
  3. Copilot in PowerPoint can turn simple ideas into presentations. Apart from making presentations by fetching data from a Word document and glamorising with stock photos and text designs, Copilot can transform existing written documents into decks complete with speaker notes. Users can also condense lengthy presentations and use natural language commands to adjust layouts, reformat text and time animations.
  4. Copilot in Outlook will assist users to communicate better, faster, and more easily. Microsoft claimed that Copilot in Outlook works with inbox and messages, summarise lengthy email threads to make you understand the gist of the matter being discussed, and respond to an existing email with a simple prompt.
  5. Copilot in Teams will assist users run more effective meetings by speeding up the conversation, organising key discussion points, and summarising key actions.
  6. Microsoft also announced Business Chat, which resembles the popular ChatGPT,  that uses Microsoft Graph to bring together data from across your documents, presentations, email, calendar, notes, and contacts.

Mattel, Instacart and other companies have also been integrating generative AI tools like ChatGPT and the image generator Dall-E to come up with ideas for new toy cars and answer customers’ food questions.

Microsoft rival Google said this week it is integrating generative AI tools into its own Workspace applications, such as Google Docs, Gmail and Slides. Google says it will be rolling out the features to its “trusted testers on a rolling basis throughout the year.”

The announcement came two days after OpenAI, which powers the generative AI technology Microsoft is relying on, rolled out its latest artificial intelligence model, GPT-4.

Microsoft 365 General Manager Colette Stallbaumer said the new features are currently only available for 20 enterprise customers. It will roll it out for more enterprise customers over the coming months.

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Published Date: March 17, 2023 7:06 AM IST

Updated Date: March 17, 2023 10:50 AM IST