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Excel Copilot

Apr 12, 2023 8:22:43 AM

The most powerful productivity tool on the planet?

Microsoft has recently announced Copilot for Microsoft 365.

MS Copilot is “your copilot for work” and rolls out across the whole Microsoft 365 suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams etc).

Microsoft claim that “Copilot will fundamentally change how people work with AI and how AI works with people”.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Copilot is Microsoft’s development of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Microsoft suite of products. Including Excel.

Watch this brief video on Copilot from Microsoft.

Impressive stuff!

Microsoft suggests a (not-so-distant) future where Copilot will take care of all of our annoying tasks for us to let us focus on where we can truly add value. Or as Microsoft rather grandly put it “reconnect to the soul of our work”.

This isn’t just a better way of doing our existing work.

It’s a whole new way of working.

What do we know about Copilot for Excel?

The release notes focus more heavily on Word and PowerPoint but do say that Copilot will “analyze trends and create professional-looking data visualizations in seconds.”

Microsoft has released this video overview of Copilot for Excel.

Some pretty mind-blowing stuff!

What will be the impact of Copilot on modellers using Excel?

Last week I wrote this article on the impact of AI on Financial Modelling. So, how will Copilot impact what we do in Excel?

Based on their overview video, I think it’s fair to say rather a lot!

Let’s focus on a few key areas:

Data sourcing

Imagine connecting Copilot to PowerQuery.  


I need a lie-down. 

Data analysis

Microsoft has identified this as a core application of Copilot.

Copilot will be able to analyse your data in seconds and provide you with key insights.

You will then be able to dig deeper by questioning Copilot further. All using natural language. No code, no formulae. Not even a Pivot Table.


In their Copilot in Excel overview video Microsoft demonstrates that Copilot will be able to, not only analyse data but also model out scenarios based on the key insights in the data.

The application in this area is very exciting. I can't wait to see more. 


Again, Microsoft has identified this as a core application of Copilot.

Copilot will be able to generate a range of charts that it believes best communicate the insights and message.

It will be interesting to see how well Copilot does in this area.

I assume we will be able to say -  “without using a pie chart show me….”

When will Copilot be released?

Copilot is currently in the testing phase. Microsoft says they will be releasing Copilot in “the months ahead”.

They also say they will share more on pricing and licencing soon. They recommend getting a Microsoft 365 licence in preparation for its release but it’s not clear yet whether it will be included within 365 or whether it would be at extra cost. My best guess would be included in 365, but let's see.

Our Future of Excel series

This series of articles focuses on new features soon to be released on Excel. This is based on announcements by the Microsoft Office Insider team.

See other articles in our Future of Excel series here.

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