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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Sterner

Get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365 without having it 🤖💡

Table of content 💖

I've used and tested Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 now for more than a month and here are my findings and thoughts for how you can get started on your Copilot journey without having it! Of course the blog post will give you insights when having Copilot for Microsoft 365 as well 😎. It feels like Microsoft is aiming at adding Copilot to every product and interface they have but this post will focus on Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Meme about Barbie don't have to create content from scratch with the help of AI and  Copilot

There are many things to consider when it comes to start using Copilot in your organization, this blog post will focus on the softer people part of it and how YOU as an individual can get started ☺️. If you want to read more about security and data governance I can recommend Nikki Chapple's blog, she's THE governance person and has written a lot of posts about Microsoft 365 governance.


What is Copilot for Microsoft 365?

Before we go into my findings, I wanted to share a few words on what Copilot is! Oh, perfect use case for using Copilot, let's ask!

Microsoft Copilot logo

Copilot is a new tool from Microsoft that combines the power of large language models (LLM) with enterprise data to help users easily find answers to their questions using AI and natural language, saving time and making it easier to find the right information.

Thanks for that lovely answer! The key here is LLM, natural language and your data that creates magic ❤️! But there are a few things I feel Copilot missed, first of all the word generative AI is important. Generative AI means that Copilot can create NEW content based on input, so besides being able to find information Copilot can help you create new content. And when it comes to finding and creating Copilot only has access to the content you have access to but let me tell you Copilot is a lot better at finding things than you are 😎. I also want to make it clear that your data will be secure, the prompts and answers you get from Copilot in a business context will not train the model. The answers will get better and better in your context, but other organizations will not harvest your smart answers 😉.


Why Copilot for Microsoft 365

There are many reasons why Copilot for Microsoft 365 is so interesting and game changing in how we work. I will list a few of my favorites but what I will come to later in this post is that there is nothing right or wrong when it comes to generative AI - you must find your reason for why it's an amazing tool for you.


  • Findability: Did you know that we are creating data in different types of form at an extremely rapid pace. In a forecast done by Statista they forecast that there in 2035 will be 2142 zettabytes of data in the world, today we have 120 zettabytes of data and for a comparison I read somewhere that 1 zettabyte is equal to all the sand grains of every beach in the world. Ok why is this relevant for Copilot for Microsoft 365? Well, the more data we have, the harder it will be to harvest knowledge and we need help at finding relevant information.

  • Content quality: In the first promo videos from Microsoft about Copilot it was all about getting help creating a presentation or report, you just prompted I want a report about this or create a presentation from this file. And then I got my hand on it and wow! Besides not having to sit and stare at a screen for hours (which I do a lot) this also improves the quality of the content. Microsoft shared this triangle that deepens the understanding of why Copilot (and AI in general) is something all of us need. As you can see starting to create content with the help of AI makes the draft quality starting at a better quality which will help us reach a better end result.

A image on how draft quality improvs with the help of AI

Microsoft Copilot by Microsoft Designer
  • Creativity: Another thing is that generative AI and Copilot makes me so creative, I love the fact that I can have an idea of something I want to create but I'm just not sure on how to get started and Copilot (or other services such as Microsoft Designer) can get me started in a blink. Like creating a cute picture of Copilot - I want it cute, kawaii and pastel and AI does this in a blink.

  • Not knowing everything: Our digital debt is just getting bigger, emails, calendar invites, chat messages, and more in an ever constant flow. This is information we easily have within reach and find but it can just be overwhelming. But with the help of Copilot, I can just ask about what I'm thinking about, what are my meetings tomorrow? Summarize this chat or email thread? What has been said and done regarding project CUTIE the past seven days? Besides this I can also ask about things outside of my company's barriers for any information, maybe I need to get started on a SWOT analysis for the best AI tools? But mind that this can be turned off by admins. I just don't need to know anything 🎉.

Your aha moment

I listed a few of my reasons why I find Copilot and generative AI so interesting and game changing and what it all comes down to is that you have to use it yourself and find your aha-moment and reason why it can help YOU. My first big aha moment with Copilot for Microsoft 365 was when I used the meetings summary feature in meetings. Turning on the transcript and at the end of the meeting get meetings notes is just amazing. Meeting notes is important to remember what was said in a meeting, but it is so boring and takes time to produce. But with Copilot for Microsoft 365 just 🪄abracadabra there they are and pretty accurate as well - life changing in meetings yes please🙋🏻‍♀️.


It's hard and you have to practice

Generative AI and Copilot is HARD and it's a new skill that takes training and practice. I wish I could give you the solution for how exactly you should do to be successful, but I can't. What I can share is that you must practice, practice and practice. Usually, I have an idea of something I want to create/ask/summarize/perform, I try Copilot and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If you don't have a license for Copilot for Microsoft 365 what you can start with today is using Copilot in Edge or Chrome - https://copilot.microsoft.com, if you login there with your work account you can start prompting today (and keep your business information secure at the same time)! A few things I enjoy using Copilot for is:


  1. Summarize a page

  2. Help answering a question

  3. Rephrase a sentence


Copilot summarizing a page I shared a link to
Copilot summarizing a page I shared a link to

What you can't forget both with Copilot in the browser and Copilot for Microsoft 365 is that you have read the answer it gives you and give a human eye both to verify that everything looks correct and also that Copilot want to give you an answer so answer might be incorrect or wrong - you can't remove your critical glasses. A helpful reference on to start prompting is this guide from OpenAI about prompt engineering, I really recommend it.


Some of my favorite use cases so far

You have to find your aha moment but let me share some of my favorites use cases for Copilot for Microsoft 365 to give inspiration.


  • Co-create in Microsoft Loop. Have you tried Loop yet, one of Microsoft's newest products for interactive collaboration (I just started using it on a daily basis and I ❤️ it. Hope there will be a blog post soon). In Loop Copilot can help me create pages with content but the sweet thing is that it's possible to co-create, that means I can see my coworkers prompts and continue them. In the example below I started with asking for a page about Loop and then my colleague Ola continued prompting and watch the end result 😍.

Co-create prompts in Microsoft Loop
Co-create prompts in Microsoft Loop

  • Ask questions in meetings: Dreaming of skipping meetings that you don't 100% have to join? With Copilot in meetings, we can both ask questions and get a summary of what was talked about but also being able to ask questions during a meeting that is active. In the example below I'm asking for a summary up until now, perfect if you are late to a meeting.

Copilot in meetings
  • Jumpstart a presentation: Remember what I said about never needing to start from scratch again? When creating presentations I love this feature, either I have a topic I need to create a presentation about or I have a file with text that should be the base. Both works. In the example below I have a file I want to create a presentation from, it is created and I'm ready to make it amazing.

Creating a PowerPoint with Copilot
  • Summarize an email thread: In my dream life I never send emails but unfortunately, I do, a lot ha-ha especially when it comes to talking to external people. With Copilot I can summarize long email threads to always be up to date about what has been said! In the example below that's exactly what I do.

Summarize a email thread with Copilot

✨Get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365 - three steps for you✨

Up until your organization decides that you should get a license there are several things you should do to be prepared (and these tips will make your life better even with or without Copilot for Microsoft 365 😁). On an organizational level there are several things that needs to be done such as creating generative AI policies, your data needs to be in good shape to avoid as much shit in = shit out. Your permissions must be in a good state where people don't have access to more than needed. But enough with that let's get into three practical things you can get started with today!


  1. Practice where you can! Use Copilot in the browser to start prompting and practicing on asking for what you want. Chat GPT works as well (but be cautious with your company data) just start trying and playing. The more your practice the easier it will be.

  2. Stop with those stupid 1:1 and group chats and start using teams in Microsoft Teams for messages that are relevant for a longer time than just right now. This will make sure Copilot can find relevant data for you as well as other people in the same team compared to keeping it in a chat where it's only accessible by those who got the message directly.

  3. Take a look at your permissions! Start with OneDrive, there is this amazing place where you can see everything you shared with others. If the file is relevant for teamwork move it to a team or maybe it's not relevant to share anymore then remove the access. My friend Caroline Kallin reminded me in a post on LinkedIn that for teams that are set to public all files in there are shared to everyone on your company - you can easily check by going to teams > manage teams > a list with all your teams and public teams has a globe icon. If a team shouldn't be public anymore change it! You don't want loss of files that aren't relevant to everyone to surface with Copilot.


If you start with this, you as an individual should be pretty good to go when you get Copilot for Microsoft 365!


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In summary it's time to start using Copilot in the way you can, practice, find your aha moment and have FUN!

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