Microsoft Announces 365 Copilot Integration with AI-Powered Features with Aim to Streamline Complex Excel Tasks

    On 16th March, Microsoft announced the debut of Microsoft 365 Copilot as part of its effort to integrate generative AI capabilities into all of its productivity apps, reported MAKE USE OF.

    “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,” explained Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “With our new copilot for work, we’re giving people more agency and making technology more accessible through the most universal interface — natural language.” 

    What Is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

    Microsoft 365 Copilot is a sophisticated orchestration and processing engine that is powered by OpenAI’s GPT4 — OpenAI’s multi-modal large language model (LLM).

    GPT-4 is considered a more reliable and creative language model, capable enough to process nuanced instructions more efficiently compared to GPT-3.5. 

    Microsoft claims its Copilot System is capable of responding to images and writing descriptions while also processing around 2500 words—eight times more than ChatGPT. 

    Built on Microsoft Corp’s patented approach to security, the permissions model of Microsoft’s Copilot System can prevent data leaks and automatically sync with a company’s inherent privacy and compliance policies.

    This AI assistant can leverage massive troves of business data in the Microsoft Graph and other Microsoft Office apps data to help organisations get actionable insights in a fraction of the time. 

    “Microsoft 365 Copilot has real-time access to both your content and context in the Microsoft Graph. This means it generates answers anchored in your business content — your documents, emails, calendar, chats, meetings, contacts, and other business data — and combines them with your working context — the meeting you’re in now, the email exchanges you’ve had on a topic, the chat conversations you had last week — to deliver accurate, relevant, contextual responses,” explained Microsoft Corp.

    Besides Excel, Copilot is embedded in other Microsoft 365 apps: Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more.

    How Can Copilot Revolutionise Excel?

    Leveraging Excel’s built-in data systems (e.g. Power Query) and functions, Excel helps users speed up calculations.

    By integrating this high-end assistive AI into Excel, Microsoft is committed to helping users significantly bolster their productivity. 

    The Copilot System by Microsoft is expected to provide users with formula suggestions to help accurately write complex functions.

    While Copilot’s Formula debugging functionality will enable users to track down errors efficiently and with ease, the formatting assistance using this AI assistant is expected to make data formatting as effortless as possible.

    According to Microsoft, the data analysis functionality with its Copilot System will facilitate data visualisation by offering suggestions of relevant charts and graphs.

    Copilot in Excel will allow users to ask questions about their data sets in natural language and will create visualisation based on these queries.

    Microsoft is committed to enhancing the Copilot functionality by introducing the new Business Chat feature.

    Powered by Bing, Business Chat integrates LLM with all Microsoft 365 apps to surface essential data and insights whenever a user requires.

    Even though Microsoft is contemplating equipping Excel with AI, the built-in functionalities with some Excel charts are still overwhelming to deal with. 

    On top of that, building charts in Excel requires a lot of clicks and manual effort, which make the process of creating professional-looking PowerPoint presentations really arduous. For professionals looking to impress the audience with stunning presentations, investing in a high-end PowerPoint add-in such as think-cell is a sensible business decision. 

    With fewer clicks, these add-ins enable users to create professional-looking PowerPoint presentations as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. 

    Wrapping Up

    Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently only available to Microsoft Office Insiders. 

    This AI-powered LLM-bases system is being rolled out focusing on boosting user productivity, with 20 initial testers as of 16th March.

    Microsoft Corp expects to make this high-end system soon available for mass use. 

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