Microsoft 365 Copilot: Everything You Need To Know

If you follow the latest news and releases in the Microsoft world, you’ll know that Copilot has been a hot topic since the end of 2023. It’s front and center of every keynote and it’s now included in almost every tool in the Microsoft 365 suite.

There’s a Copilot for Teams (probably the biggest use case), a Copilot for Word, and even a Copilot for things like Dynamics and PowerBI. If there’s a tool where you could benefit from what Microsoft is billing as “Your everyday AI companion”, you can bet Microsoft has made one available.

In fact, at last count (which was April 2024 as of the time of writing), there are 19 different Copilots in the Microsoft ecosystem.

In this blog post, we aim to provide you with all the details you need about the various Microsoft 365 Copilots without flooding you with too much information.

< Back to menuWhat does Copilot do?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an in-app assistance tool that lets you use generative AI with all sorts of tasks.

From catching up on meeting content when you arrive late to creating a beautifully formatted PowerPoint presentation from the meeting notes of the meeting you were just late to, there’s a wealth of functionality at your disposal.

Using “prompts”, which are input commands, you can request that Copilot do almost anything.

For example, you can ask Copilot to “draft a proposal from yesterday’s meeting notes” and attach the OneNote file you used to create those notes.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know

You ask for something to be created and Copilot will use its artificial intelligence (AI) to make it happen.

In return, Copilot will create a proposal using the content you provided. And you can apply this to almost any information worker scenario. Specifically in the case of those tasked with content creation (of any sort, not just marketing), the process of going from blank canvas to first draft can be expedited with a high-quality prompt.

What you must be aware of here is that while Copilot is clever and quick, it lacks context. The quality of the output relies heavily on your input. So, when you ask for *something* to be created, be as prescriptive as possible.


Copilot in Microsoft Teams

This most anticipated Copilot use case feels like Microsoft Teams. As there are now more than 320 million monthly active users of Teams, the potential impact of Copilot is extraordinary.

By Microsoft’s own recognition, through its Work Index report, we’re suffering from too many meetings. In fact, 68% of the 31,000 people surveyed said they don’t have enough uninterrupted focus time in their work day (because of time spent in meetings).

This statistic has twofold importance when it comes to the introduction of Copilot in Teams:
  1. You can use Copilot to lessen your time in meetings: No need to take notes as Copilot does this automatically. You can also ask for a recap, action items, and key points at any time during or after the meeting. You could even skip the meeting and get all the key points and moments your name was mentioned.

  2. You can use Copilot to speed up follow up activities: When you get assigned tasks during meetings, use the meeting content to kick off your next step. It could be drafting a PowerPoint, analyzing data in Excel, or scheduling the next meeting.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know2

Outside of meetings, you can use Copilot in chat and channel messages and phone calls too. 

During any chat, either one-to-one, group, or a channel chat, you can use Copilot for similar things to meetings. In your desired chat, open Copilot in the top right-hand corner and enter your prompt to request information or an output from the content within the chat or channel.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know3

You might ask Copilot to catch you up on the most urgent matters if you’ve been away on vacation. Using the dates and timestamps in the chat, Copilot can rank these without you having to scroll through hundreds of messages.


Likewise, you can ask for specific information recall, like who suggested the project completion date or what were the key items from Wednesday’s chat. The prompts you input are entirely up to you, of course. 

Copilot in Teams Phone

Teams Phone must get a special call out when thinking about Copilot. 

It’s easy to think that the same logic and technology applies to calls as to meetings. You’d be right for the most part. But there’s a slight catch too.

For on-net calls, i.e. VoIP calls between internal Teams users, everything that applies to the Copilot meeting functionality remains.

However, for external PSTN calls in Teams, there’s a break in the technology. Literally, PSTN breakout. 

That’s not to say that you can’t use Copilot for Teams Phone. Far from it.

Announced a little later than Copilot for Teams meetings, you can also have an AI assistant live (and historically) in your PSTN calls.


You get call summarization and curate unresolved questions, just like you could a normal meeting. 


So, what’s the fuss about Copilot in Teams Phone?

Think about when you’re speaking to a customer and need help from a colleague. More than that, you need to escalate the call to them.

You transfer the call and pass your customer on to someone with the relevant expertise.

What happens to the call summary? That gets transferred too. Copilot uses the entire call including any transfers to create a full information loop with no breaks and no data leakage.

During your calls, you can ask any prompt of your choosing. 

Here are some recommended prompts from Microsoft:

  • Recap the call so far
  • List action items
  • Suggest follow-up questions
  • What questions are unresolved?
  • List different perspectives by topic
  • List the main items we discussed
  • Generate call notes


Copilot in other Microsoft apps

By now, you have a feel for what Microsoft 365 Copilot can do for Teams. It’s arguably the biggest use case.

But with plenty of other apps in (and adjacent to) the 365 ecosystem, it’s important to highlight the apps you can use Copilot in and what you do use it for.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know4

As of April 2024, you can use Copilot in these Microsoft 365 apps:

  • Word
  • Loop
  • Excel
  • Forms
  • Outlook
  • OneNote
  • Whiteboard
  • PowerPoint

In Word, for example, you can generate a custom banner to go with the document you just created. For those who lack a creative spark, this can be a time-consuming task that AI can complete in seconds.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know5

In PowerPoint, you might have a Word proposal that now needs to be presented at short notice.

Instead of presenting pages of a Word document, you can ask Copilot to turn your proposal into a formatted presentation.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know6


A key thing to note here is that you don’t have to accept the first version of what Copilot returns.

After most outputs, you’ll have suggested follow up prompts like:

  • Add animations to this slide
  • Apply a modern style to the presentation

In Outlook, you can use Copilot to draft responses to emails. Again, you don’t have to accept the first version.

In fact, Copilot for Outlook comes with a tool to make adjustments based on email length and writing style. You can ask Copilot to make your email shorter and more informal if that’s how you normally respond, for example.

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know7

Is ChatGPT owned by Microsoft?

No. ChatGPT isn’t owned by Microsoft. However, it may sound like Copilot is borrowing lots of functionality from there.

That’s because it’s using the same base technology. In 2023, Microsoft confirmed a $10bn investment in ChatGPT.

Microsoft explains how it uses ChatGPT in this statement:

“Copilot doesn’t just connect ChatGPT with Microsoft 365; it combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your data in the Microsoft Graph (including your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings, and more) and the Microsoft 365 apps to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet.”

< Back to menuBenefits and disadvantages of Copilot365 for Microsoft

Benefits of Copilot
for Microsoft 365

Disadvantages of Copilot
for Microsoft 365

Cost reduction

Cost to implement

 Business process

Time taken for adoption

Employee wellbeing

 Change to habits and processes

Empower less experienced staff

Potential reliance on AI

Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365

  • Cost reduction: When implemented at scale, save money on processes by increasing the output per unit of time thanks to automation.

  • Business process improvements: Improve validity and efficiency of creation and communication with data exchange governed by human prompts.

  • Employee wellbeing: Staff benefit from more energy and achievement thanks to time saved and dedicated to impactful tasks.

  • Empower less experienced staff: Get new users up to speed and remove blockers for certain areas of creativity and data interpretation.

Disadvantages of Copilot for Microsoft 365

  • Cost to implement: Extra cost on top of Microsoft 365, plus implementation and adoption costs.

  • Time taken for adoption: While intuitive, it may take time to get used and for users to trust outputs.

  • Change to habits and processes: Any new technology introduces a different way of working and there will be natural pushback.

  • Potential reliance on AI: Some employees may opt for the easy way out and sacrifice quality for quantity if not trained and governed well.

< Back to menuHow much does Copilot for Microsoft 365 cost?

Copilot for Microsoft 365  costs $30 per user per month and must be paid for on an annual subscription. 

This grants you access to Copilot in productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint, Teams, etc. as well as image creation via DALL-E 3 and 100 daily boosts with Designer. The Pro license even lets you start building your own Copilots for custom use.

Note: There may be slight variations of Copilot pricing based on special agreements or custom packages.

Is Copilot included in Office 365?

No. Microsoft Copilot is an add-on license to both Microsoft 365 and Office 365.

Is Microsoft Copilot free?

If you’ve heard whispers about a free version of Copilot, they could be referring to the browser version available at (and on Windows, macOS, and iPadOS with a free Microsoft account). This doesn’t give you access to Copilot in Teams, Word, etc.

This is more like the ChatGPT you may have used in the past. You can ask any questions or get help on any prompts and Copilot will use its generative AI capabilities to provide you with a solution.

Like ChatGPT, you must sign in to Copilot to use the free version. This helps with tracking accountability from both Microsoft’s side and yours. 

Microsoft Copilot_ Everything You Need To Know8

Is it worth paying for Copilot?

Yes, if you’re going to use it. For $30 per month, the potential productivity gains are undeniable if used correctly; even when factoring in implementation and adoption costs.

💡 Pro tip: Not everybody in your organization will need access to Copilot. 

The licensing model allows for this. You don’t need to license all Microsoft 365 users with Copilot; only those who you feel will benefit from it.

Tom Arbuthnot, Solutions Director at Pure IP, says, “If you can drive ROI from Copilot for Microsoft 365 or one of the many other Copilots depends on the person's role, tasks and if they adopt the new capabilities.”

Patrick Kelly, who works for Zoom on solutions that involve Microsoft technology, makes a clear distinction of who should and shouldn’t get a Copilot license:

“If I were a CIO, I would only buy Copilot for my workforce that were primarily in charge of communication and content creation. I think AI can help a lot in this area and using Copilot to assist users be more creative or to automate mundane tasks would be the only way I can see an ROI.”

Microsoft has run simulation exercises that suggest a 717% return on investment and a $254 per user per month productivity gain when adopting Copilot. This used a combination of general executives, managers, and individual contributors to form a fair test.

< Back to menuIs Copilot better than ChatGPT?

A valid question. The answer must be a resounding yes. Copilot takes the intelligence of ChatGPT and adds LLMs, your internal data, and the functionality of Microsoft 365 apps to create a best of both worlds AI tool.

Here are the key differences between Copilot and ChatGPT.


Microsoft Copilot


Embedded into Microsoft 365 apps

Standalone tool

$20 per user per month

Free to access with login

Unlimited prompts and searches

Usage may be limited in peak periods

Shares data with Microsoft 365 apps and Microsoft Graph

Recalls information from restricted periods

Applies context based on your activity

Lacks context and can create own

Needs good prompts

Needs high-quality specific prompts

Uses tailored models plus Generative Pre-trained Transformer architecture

Uses Generative Pre-trained Transformer architecture only

Uses app activity and context for customization

Lacks customization on a per user basis

< Back to menuHow safe is Copilot?

While there is much skepticism about AI in the media and there are widely documented examples of poor AI governance and bad examples of early adoption, having Microsoft governing what goes in and out is a welcome safety barrier for businesses curious about Copilot.

As Kevin Kieller, co-founder and Lead Analyst at enable UC, put in his LinkedIn newsletter, “Copilot for Microsoft 365 inherits the security, compliance, and privacy policies you’ve set up in Microsoft 365 and your data never leaves its secure partition and is never used for training purposes. With Copilot for Microsoft 365, answers are anchored in your business context and grounded using your business content.”

It may be of some relief to learn that any information input to or created by Copilot isn’t used to train LLMs. This means bad information entered by users won’t reflect future outputs.

Copilot data security and privacy

With regard to data security and privacy, Microsoft has stated, “Copilot features follow a set of core security and privacy practices and the Microsoft Responsible AI Standard. Copilot data is protected by comprehensive, industry-leading compliance, security, and privacy controls.”

Copilot compliance

With regard to compliance with existing guidelines and initiatives, Microsoft’s stance is more of the same. 

Its statement says, “Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is compliant with our existing privacy, security, and compliance commitments to Microsoft 365 commercial customers, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and European Union (EU) Data Boundary.”

< Back to menuHow do I get Copilot in Microsoft 365?

So your mind's made up and you want to get started. 

There’s a clear ROI for use cases in your business and it makes total sense to automate routine tasks, get a jumpstart on creative activities, and the idea of meeting summaries is more than appealing.

You could dive in feet first and license everyone who you think needs a Copilot. Really, you could.

But when it comes to new technology implementation, that’s rarely the best case. 

We recommend a four-pronged approach:

  • Recognize the limitations: Understand the limitations of what you can and can’t ask Copilot to do. Communicate this across all users to avoid unrealistic expectations.
  • Gradual scaling: Introduce Copilot to power users and technology enthusiasts first. Create an environment of encouraged feedback and testing before full rollout.
  • Training and development: Use online material and hold Q&A sessions to empower self-service and continuous development. Going it alone is never the best option.
  • Data security: Review plugins for Microsoft Copilot, check privacy policies and terms to protect organizational data effectively.

Need help with your Copilot implementation?

Book a free call with our Microsoft experts here.

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