Microsoft Expands Copilots with Finance and OneDrive Additions

New Microsoft Copilot generative artificial intelligence (AI) products and capabilities were described this week.

There's a new Copilot for Finance preview, Copilot in Forms will be arriving in March and Microsoft is planning to release Copilot in OneDrive in late April.

Microsoft is currently releasing a Copilot in Microsoft 365 Mobile App. It's also adding an AI-based "Help Me Create" function to its Microsoft 365 Web App.

Copilot in Windows 11 improvements are coming, too, plus Copilot in Microsoft 365 additions.

Copilot for Finance Preview
Microsoft Copilot for Finance is a new addition that's at the public preview stage. It's designed to help with financial analysis work by pulling data from "existing financial data sources." Possible data sources might be "traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SAP, and the Microsoft Graph," the announcement explained.

Copilot for Finance was also described as including Copilot for Microsoft 365. Possibly, Microsoft just means that it works with Microsoft 365 applications. For instance, Copilot for Finance works with "Excel, Outlook and other widely used productivity apps with workflow and data-specific insights for the finance professional."

One Copilot for Finance use case is to perform variance analyses in Excel using text prompts. Copilot for Finance leverages "automated data structure comparisons" in Excel to assure accuracy. Outlook users can generate "a complete summary of relevant customer account details." Financial data also can be transformed into charts and graphs.

Copilot in Forms Available in March
Copilot in Forms will be available in "early March" for Copilot for Microsoft 365 licensees. Users describe the type of form they want to see in words, and Copilot in Forms will generate an editable draft version.

Microsoft is planning to expand Copilot in Forms to generate quizzes at some point, as well. Copilot in Forms also will be available to consumer users if they have a Copilot Pro license.

Copilot in OneDrive Coming in Late April
Microsoft is planning to release Copilot in OneDrive in "late-April 2024," which aims to help with information retrieval based on stored files. It'll be available for Copilot for Microsoft 365 licensees.

Users will be able to access Copilot in OneDrive via "OneDrive for web and in the file viewer in Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint." Microsoft is promising that Copilot in OneDrive users will be able to find files easily via "natural language" prompts. Users can also create FAQs, tables and outlines from file content. It's possible to generate summaries of PDF files.

The file types supported by Copilot in OneDrive were listed as follows:

  • Office documents: DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLSX
  • New Microsoft 365 formats: FLUID, LOOP
  • Universal formats: PDF, TXT, RTF
  • Web files: ASPX, HTM, HTML
  • OpenDocument formats: ODT, ODP

Copilot in Windows 11 Perks
Microsoft also announced Copilot in Windows 11 enhancements that are coming this month and later, as well as new Windows 11 features that will be arriving via a Windows update release in April.

"We anticipate broad availability for most new [Windows 11] features by the April 2024 security update release [likely meaning April 9] for all eligible devices," Microsoft clarified.

Many of these Copilot in Windows 11 improvements might fall into the consumer side of things, such as AI editing enhancements in the Photos app (there's a new "generative erase" capability), and Clipchamp "silence removal" when creating videos. Copilot in Windows 11 also can work with consumer plugin apps, such as the " Shopify, Klarna and Kayak" plugins.

In late March, Copilot in Windows 11 will be able to respond to so-called "skills" associated with Windows settings, device information and accessibility. Users can type commands like "enable battery saver" or "show system information" to perform those actions, for instance.

There's also a coming capability called "voice shortcuts," which will let people use a voice phrase to accomplish some actions that otherwise would entail "pressing keyboard keys or mouse clicks." In particular, Copilot in Windows 11 will let people set up multiple monitors for a PC using voice commands.

The Windows 11 enhancements coming in April will include the ability to use an Android phone as a Webcam on "all video conferencing apps." The Snap windowing feature will generate "personalized layout suggestions," based on prior use. It'll be possible to organize Widgets by categories. Microsoft is also expanding inking and photo-sharing capabilities with this release.  

Copilot in Microsoft 365 Mobile App
Microsoft is now "rolling out" Copilot in Microsoft 365 Mobile App, which is integrated with the Word and PowerPoint Mobile Apps.

Copilot in Microsoft 365 Mobile App lets users "summarize documents, translate, explain or ask questions," based on selected content. A "Copilot license" is needed to use this capability, but Microsoft didn't specify which one.

Copilot in Microsoft 365 Mobile App works with other applications during the ideation process. It works with "Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Forms, OneNote, Lists, Clipchamp, Sway, Visio, Stream, Engage, PowerBI and Whiteboard."

Microsoft also indicated that the Microsoft 365 Web App has a new capability called "Help Me Create," which is currently rolling out. This feature appears to require having a Copilot for Microsoft 365 account. Users can type what they want to create in words and Help Me Create will generate content. It also will point users to a "recommended application where the content should be located."

Copilot in Microsoft 365 Additions
Copilot in Microsoft is getting expanded language support, a prompt-sharing capability, a new "Copilot Lab" page for building skills, video summaries with Copilot in Stream, and usage reports in the Admin Center portal.

The list of the coming Copilot in Microsoft 365 additions can be found in this announcement. These improvements mostly will be arriving March or late April.