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Since Microsoft expanded its partnership with the innovators at Open AI, its focus on AI solutions for work, collaboration, and communication has grown massively.

Microsoft Copilot, or just “Copilot,” is the AI assistant created by Microsoft to support users in various parts of the Microsoft ecosystem. It was developed using the latest version of the OpenAI LLM technology and allows professionals to bring generative AI into their everyday workflows.

Since announcing Copilot, Microsoft has promised to extend the solution’s functionality across virtually all of its resources, from Microsoft Word and Outlook to the Teams collaboration platform.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to experiment with Copilot yet, this step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know about enabling Copilot for Microsoft products.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Before we discuss how to enable Microsoft Copilot, let’s start with a quick overview of the technology and how it works. As mentioned above, Copilot is an AI assistant created by Microsoft and powered by large language model technology.

Part of what makes Microsoft Copilot so compelling for companies in search of generative AI solutions is its ability to integrate with Microsoft Graph and other Microsoft tools. This means Copilot can draw information from different parts of the Microsoft ecosystem.

For instance, when crafting an email with Copilot on Outlook, you can draw notes and information from SharePoint, Meetings, and Microsoft Office tools.

Copilot is designed to streamline workflows, boost productivity and efficiency, and improve performance in every part of the digital workplace. It has earned significant positive feedback from initial testers and is set to roll out fully for enterprise users in November 2023.

Notably, Copilot is accessible in two different ways. First, companies can access Copilot generative AI capabilities in the tools they already use, such as Teams, Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Secondly, Copilot is also included within the “Business Chat” or “Bing Chat” solution for all Microsoft users.

Purchasing Microsoft Copilot: Copilot Pricing

Before enabling Microsoft Copilot for all your apps and tools, you will need to take a few crucial steps, starting with purchasing a license. Unfortunately, while some people predicted that Microsoft would embed Copilot into its tools as a free service, this isn’t the case.

In July, Microsoft announced official pricing for the Copilot service during the Inspire partner show. The pricing is steep, costing $30 per user per month. Notably, this is an add-on cost to your existing Microsoft subscription. You’ll still need a Microsoft plan on top of Copilot, such as Microsoft Business Standard, Premium, E3, or E5.

The good news is that Bing Chat Enterprise, Microsoft’s AI-powered chat solution, will be included in the packages above for no extra cost. The service can also be purchased as a standalone solution for $5 per month per user.

Where Can You Enable Microsoft Copilot?

Microsoft is embedding Copilot into virtually every aspect of its technology suite. The solution will be available in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and Teams Phone. The assistant will also be added to Microsoft Viva, Microsoft Loop, SharePoint, and Power Platform.

Microsoft even has its dedicated solution for sales teams as “Sales Copilot.” It’s also worth noting that Copilot will now automatically replace the “Cortana” service previously available from Microsoft through Bing Chat Enterprise.

As Microsoft continues to invest in generative AI and large language models through its collaboration with OpenAI, there’s every chance additional Copilot tools will emerge. Keep an eye on Microsoft’s product roadmap for all the latest updates.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot: Prerequisites

As mentioned above, there are a few prerequisites to learn how to enable Microsoft Copilot. First, you will need a subscription to both Copilot and an approved plan. Currently, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 E5, E3 account, as well as:

  • Access to Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise
  • Entra IDs (formerly Azure Active Directory accounts) for all users
  • Access to Microsoft OneDrive (for file restoration and other features)

To access Microsoft for Outlook, Teams, or Microsoft Loop, you’ll also need to ensure all these solutions are available and enabled for your tenant.

Additionally, user devices accessing Microsoft Copilot must be either on the “Monthly Enterprise channel” or “Current Channel.” In November 2023, Copilot will roll out first into the Current Channel before appearing in the Enterprise channel a month later.

From a Network perspective, Copilot services will connect to endpoints contained in the Microsoft 365 endpoint taxonomy. Microsoft recommends ensuring your network aligns with the Microsoft 365 connectivity principles outlined here for minimal latency.

Since various Copilot experiences for solutions like Loop, Teams, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word use WebSocket connections, you’ll need to enable WebSocket connections, too.

How to Assign Licenses for Microsoft Copilot

To ensure users in your business can enable and access Copilot, you’ll need to assign licenses. Administrators can do this by using the Microsoft 365 admin center. You can also follow the steps available in the Microsoft 365 Copilot setup guide if you haven’t provisioned tenant users already.

If you already have provisioned users in your tenant, head to the Microsoft 365 admin tenant to enable Copilot for either individual users or your entire tenant. You can also do this through PowerShell, using the Set-MsolUserLicense cmdlet.

After a user is assigned a license for Copilot, they should be able to access the experience immediately within their Microsoft apps. For some apps, such as Word and Copilot, dialog boxes will automatically appear when users create a new document.

In other environments, users must click the Copilot button within a menu ribbon (such as on Microsoft Teams). Microsoft recommends enabling feedback settings for Copilot so you can gather insights about user experiences. Plus, you can use the Microsoft 365 Copilot usage report to get an overview of user adoption, retention, and engagement.

The complete reports are available in the Microsoft 365 admin center via “Reports” and “Usage.”

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot for Windows 11

During the Build 2023 conference in May, Microsoft announced the arrival of “Windows Copilot” for Windows 11 users. Designed to accelerate productivity in businesses worldwide, Windows Copilot turns every user into a “power user.”

Essentially, the solution acts as a personal assistant, allowing users to rapidly customize settings, connect to their favorite apps, and more. With Copilot, you can access all of the features you love on Windows, from copy/paste to snap assist and snipping tools. However, you can also ask Windows Copilot various questions and request support with multiple tasks.

For instance, users can ask Windows Copilot to rewrite or summarize content. You can also use the tool, similar to the Bing Chat AI, to rapidly access information from the web.

The preview version of Copilot for Windows 11 started rolling out in June to specific users. To enable Microsoft Copilot for Windows 11 today, you’ll need to run the “Windows Insider” version of Windows 11, intended for developers.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot on Windows: Step-by-Step

If you’re not already on the Dev channel for Windows, you can enroll any Windows 11 PC into the channel. To do this, go into your Windows 11 Settings and click “Windows Update.” Choose the “Windows Insider Program” from there and sign in with a Microsoft account.

Click the “Get Started” button, link your Microsoft credentials, and choose the “Dev Channel” option. Press “Continue” on your screen, and you’ll be prompted to reboot.

Your PC should download and install a new version of Windows 11. Once this is up and running:

  1. Download the ViveTool GUI GitHub service
  2. Start the installer and go through the steps on your screen
  3. Launch the app, and go to “Select Build” then choose “23493.1000.”
  4. Find and activate features 44774629, 44850061, 44776738, 42105254, and 41655236
  5. Open Microsoft Edge and go to “Help and Feedback” then “About Microsoft Edge” to update the browser.
  6. Reboot your PC.
  7. Launch Copilot with the Windows Key + C shortcut

If this all seems too complicated, you can simply wait for Microsoft to release a Windows update, which should come with Copilot installed when it becomes generally available.

Once Copilot is available on your Windows device, you can launch it by clicking the Copilot button on the taskbar or pressing Win + C on your keyboard. You can also hide Copilot by heading into “Personalization” then “Taskbar” in Settings to switch Copilot off.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 was one of the first innovations to be revealed by the tech giant this year. It was described as the most advanced productivity tool on the planet, and Microsoft shared it would be integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways.

First, the solution works alongside users in the tools and apps they use every day, including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, and the Power Platform. The company also created “Business Chat,” powered by Microsoft Copilot’s LLM technology. Business Chat works across all Microsoft 365 apps, allowing users to initiate actions with natural language prompts.

Here’s what Microsoft Copilot can do in your productivity apps:

  • Word: Microsoft Copilot can help with drafting, revising, summarizing, and generating documents in Word. It can also offer helpful suggestions to improve your writing.
  • Excel: In Excel, Copilot can help users gain new insights, create appealing data visualizations, or detect patterns with no need to master complicated formulas.
  • PowerPoint: PowerPoint’s copilot feature can transform ideas into full presentations with natural language instructions. It can also summarize lengthy presentations.
  • Outlook: Copilot for Outlook can help align and organize your inbox. Plus, it can summarize conversations and provide response suggestions.
  • Power Platform: Microsoft Copilot can help developers prototype and create low-code applications with automation and guidelines in the Power Platform.
  • Business Chat: Business Chat, which combines emails, calendars, notes, and presentations, can help teams compose content, find important dates, and create work plans.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot on Microsoft apps:

Microsoft Copilot is already integrated into Microsoft 365 apps for some users. However, if you haven’t been able to access the features yet, you may need to update your Microsoft applications.

Notably, even members of beta channels and those accessing Copilot after the official release may be unable to use the functionality immediately. The roll-out starts in November, but it may not reach all businesses and users simultaneously.

If you can access Microsoft 365 Copilot, you can simply switch it on within any of the integrated Microsoft apps mentioned above. Find the Copilot icon on the ribbon menu for the app and click it to activate the service.

Some Copilot experiences will launch Copilot automatically on your apps. For instance, when you start a new document in Word or create a spreadsheet in Excel, Copilot will launch in a dialogue window to offer suggestions and guidance.

Once activated, Microsoft says Copilot will help unleash your creativity, unlock new productivity levels, and uplevel your skills. In fact, according to GitHub data, 99% of users say they’re more productive with the tool. Additionally, 74% say they can focus on more satisfying work, and 77% say they spend less time searching for information.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot for Teams

Learning how to enable Microsoft Copilot in Teams will empower companies worldwide to enhance their collaboration and communication strategies. Microsoft says Copilot in Teams will improve the efficiency of meetings with contextual action items and real-time summaries.

For instance, if a team member forgets to take notes during a meeting, they can ask Copilot for a conversation summary. The tool will then create a complete document, with crucial decisions made and tasks assigned to each team member.

Users can even ask Copilot to identify the pros and cons of their meetings to help make future conversations more productive.

The Business Chat solution created by Microsoft will also be included in Teams. This will allow users to access new capabilities across all applications and data. It works with Microsoft Graph, unifying information from various sources, including calendars and presentations.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot in Teams

If you’re using Copilot as a registered user following the rollout in November for enterprise customers, you should be able to access the Copilot tab within any Teams meeting.

However, you will first need to add the Copilot app to Teams. This process works similarly to adding any app to your Teams experience. Go to the “Apps” section within Teams and search for “Copilot.” Then click “Add” to embed the app into your tenant.

Administrators can add apps to specific meetings, channels, and chats. You can also configure Copilot settings within the Microsoft Teams admin center. Once enabled, users will see a Copilot button or icon on their chat and channel windows. Clicking that button will allow you to launch a chat window with Copilot.

Microsoft says Copilot will be available for Teams Phone and Teams Chat. Teams is the first UCaaS solution to bring generative AI directly to phone calls. You can make and receive calls from your Teams app on any device.

Plus, you’ll be able to get real-time summarizations and notes from Copilot during the call. Copilot is available for both PTSN and VoIP calls. In chat, the solution can outline conversations, create summaries, and extract critical information from chat tools. Copilot can also flag information specific to each user to help them plan their to-do list.

How to Enable Microsoft Copilot in Other Applications

As mentioned above, Copilot appears in virtually every aspect of the Microsoft ecosystem, from Power Platform to Microsoft Viva and even SharePoint. The good news is that if you have the proper licenses, you shouldn’t have to do much to access the features.

Copilot will be automatically embedded into tools like Viva, Power Platform, and SharePoint, so users can simply click the Copilot icon to access the services. Users can also click on the Copilot application to customize their experience.

For instance, depending on the support you need, you can turn suggestions off and on. You can see how Copilot can assist users in Viva by generating goals, OKR recommendations, and conversation starters on the community site here.

Notably, Sales Copilot, the sales-focused solution for Microsoft users, requires some extra work to activate. You’ll need a Dynamics 365 Sales Premium or Enterprise license, and you’ll need to select the apps and features you want to enable.

From the “Change” area in the Sales Hub app, go to “App Settings,” then “General Settings,” followed by “Sales Copilot.” You’ll see an option to “Set up Copilot” if you’re accessing it for the first time. You can then enable or disable the “compose” and “chat” features for users.

Is it Safe to Enable Microsoft Copilot for Companies?

Learning how to enable Microsoft Copilot is great – but you might have some concerns as a business leader working with generative AI for the first time. Many organizations have raised concerns about chat-based tools capturing sensitive information from collaboration apps.

As a result, companies like Zoom and Microsoft have begun sharing transparent insights into how data and privacy are protected on their tools.

Even before Microsoft began rolling Copilot out to consumers and businesses, the company released a statement promising a variety of protections. Business leaders will be able to maintain control over which users can access and use Copilot features.

Additionally, Copilot will have copyright protections to minimize the risks of IP infringement for creators. These copyright protections also apply to GitHub Copilot, so developers shouldn’t have anything to worry about if they’re creating new code.

Enabling Copilot for Microsoft Tools

The good news is learning how to enable Microsoft Copilot isn’t nearly as complex as it might seem. Once the solution is made generally available to all users, it should automatically appear on your apps and tools. For many solutions, like Microsoft Office apps, you won’t need to do anything to start using the features (besides potentially updating your system).

However, you will need to ensure you have the proper Microsoft licenses and apps installed. If you follow the guidelines above, you should have access to all of the fantastic features of Copilot in no time.

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