Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 overview

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered productivity tool that coordinates large language models (LLMs), content in Microsoft Graph, and the Microsoft 365 apps that you use every day, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and others. This integration provides real-time intelligent assistance, enabling users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 uses a combination of LLMs, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that uses deep learning techniques and vast data sets to understand, summarize, predict, and generate content. These LLMs include pre-trained models, such as Generative Pre-Trained Transformers (GPT) like GPT-4, designed to excel in these tasks.

Copilot integration with Graph and Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a sophisticated processing and orchestration engine that provides AI-powered productivity capabilities by coordinating the following components:

  • Large language models (LLMs)

  • Content in Microsoft Graph, such as emails, chats, and documents that you have permission to access.

  • The Microsoft 365 apps that you use every day, such as Word and PowerPoint.

Microsoft 365 apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, loop, and more) operate with Copilot to support users in the context of their work. Some of these features are detailed in the following table:

Microsoft 365 App Feature Description
Word Draft with Copilot Generate text with and without formatting in new or existing documents
Chat Create content, summarize, ask questions about your document, and do light commanding via Chat.
PowerPoint Draft with Copilot Create from Prompt or File, leveraging enterprise templates. Integration with DALL-E, OpenAI’s image generator, also allows users to ask Copilot to create custom images.
Chat Summary, Q&A, ChatGPT integration.
Light commanding Add slides, pictures, or make deck-wide text changes.
Loop Collaborative content creation Create content that can be collaboratively improved through direct editing or refinement by Copilot.
Outlook Coaching tips Get coaching tips and suggestions on clarity, sentiment, and tone, along with an overall message assessment and suggestions for improvement.
Summarize Summarize an email thread to help the user quickly understand the discussion. It can draft and suggest replies to email.
Leverage content Pull from other emails or content across Microsoft 365 that user already has access to.
Teams Chat Users can invoke Copilot in any chat. Copilot can summarize up to 30 days of the chat content prior to the last message in a given chat. Copilot uses only the single chat thread as source content for responses and can't reference other chats or data types (for example, meeting transcripts, emails, and files). Users can interact with Copilot by selecting prewritten prompts or writing their own questions. Responses include clickable citations that direct users to the relevant source content that was used. Conversations with Copilot take place in a side panel that allows users to copy and paste. Copilot conversations are ephemeral and will disappear after the side panel is closed.
Meetings Users can invoke Copilot in meetings or calls within the same tenant. Copilot will use the transcript in real-time to answer questions from the user. It only uses the transcript and knows the name of the user typing the question. The user can type any question or use pre-determined prompts; however, Copilot will only answer questions related to the meeting conversation from the transcript. The user can copy/paste an answer and access Copilot after the meeting ends on the Recap page. Copilot interaction history with the user is kept for 24 hrs.
Business Chat Allows users to access data across their Microsoft 365 Graph and leverage LLM functionality. Business chat can be accessed in Teams and when signed-in to Bing with an active directory account.
Whiteboard Makes meetings and brainstorm sessions more creative and effective. Use natural language to ask Copilot to generate ideas, organize ideas into themes, create designs that bring ideas to life and summarize whiteboard content.
OneNote Draft with Copilot Use prompts to draft plans, generate ideas, create lists, and organize information to help you easily find what you need.

To learn more about what's possible with Microsoft 365 Apps and Copilot, check out Microsoft 365 AI help and learning.

How does Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 work?

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 capabilities that users see in Microsoft 365 Apps and other surfaces appear as intelligent features, functionality, and prompting capability. Our foundation LLMs and proprietary Microsoft technologies work together in an underlying system that helps you securely access, use, and manage your organizational data.

  • Microsoft 365 Apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and Loop) operate with Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 to support users in the context of their work. For example, Copilot in Word is designed to assist users specifically in the process of creating, understanding, and editing documents. In a similar way, Copilot in the other apps helps users in the context of their work within those apps.

  • Microsoft 365 Chat enables Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 users to leverage cross-app intelligence, simplifying their workflow across multiple apps. Microsoft 365 Chat uses the power of the foundation LLMs, a user's organizational data, and a user's apps to generate a response. Microsoft 365 Chat is available in a range of experiences, including Teams (chat), Bing, Microsoft Edge, and the Microsoft 365 app.

  • Microsoft Graph has long been fundamental to Microsoft 365. It includes information about the relationships between users, activities, and your organization’s data. The Microsoft Graph API brings more context from customer signals into the prompt, such as information from emails, chats, documents, and meetings. For more information, see Overview of Microsoft Graph and Major services and features in Microsoft Graph.

  • Semantic Index for Copilot uses multiple LLMs that sit on top of Microsoft Graph to interpret user queries and produce sophisticated, meaningful, and multilingual responses that help you to be more productive. It allows you to search quickly through billions of vectors (mathematical representations of features or attributes) to help connect you with relevant and actionable information in your organization. For more information on Semantic Index for Copilot, review this video.

The following diagram provides a visual representation of how Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 works.

Diagram that shows the relationship among the components of Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, such as Microsoft Graph and LLM.

Here's an explanation of how Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 works:

  • Copilot receives an input prompt from a user in an app, such as Word or PowerPoint.

  • Copilot then pre-processes the input prompt through an approach called grounding, which improves the specificity of the prompt, to help you get answers that are relevant and actionable to your specific task. The prompt can include text from input files or other content discovered by Copilot, and Copilot sends this prompt to the LLM for processing. Copilot only accesses data that an individual user has existing access to, based on, for example, existing Microsoft 365 role-based access controls.

  • Copilot takes the response from the LLM and post-processes it. This post-processing includes other grounding calls to Microsoft Graph, responsible AI checks, security, compliance and privacy reviews, and command generation.

  • Copilot returns the response to the app, where the user can review and assess the response.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 iteratively processes and orchestrates these sophisticated services to help produce results that are relevant to your organization because they're contextually based on your organizational data.

Semantic Index

The semantic index brings a whole new world of understanding to your data in Microsoft 365. Through enhanced interactions with your individual and company data via the Microsoft Graph, and the creation of a new index, the semantic index is an improvement to Microsoft 365 search that lays the foundation for the next generation of Search and Copilot experiences. The semantic index respects security and policies in the Microsoft Graph so that when a user issues a query either directly via search or in Microsoft 365 chat via Copilot, it's always in the security context of the user, and only content that a user has access to is returned.

The semantic index does more than enhance search results; it works to help you understand your data, find information quicker and improve productivity. Users can interact with the semantic index initially through Microsoft 365 Chat integration, and then over time, Microsoft will improve the search experience in SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, and the Microsoft 365 app:

Diagram that shows the relationship between Microsoft 365 Chat and Microsoft Search.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium customers will receive the features as part of a phased rollout, with status updates shared via the Microsoft 365 admin center and Microsoft 365 public roadmap.

We are in the early stages of rolling out the semantic index to all organizations with Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 and an eligible Microsoft 365 license, without any administrative involvement. Microsoft automatically manages the enablement of the semantic index, with prioritization given for organizations that purchase more than 300 licenses for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. When user indexing is complete, administrators will see a ‘Semantic indexing is complete’ status in the Microsoft 365 admin center for enabled users. When tenant level indexing starts in an organization, admins will see ‘Semantic index is enabled for your organization’ on the Search and Intelligence page in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Screenshot that shows the semantic index enabled.


Microsoft will not provide timelines or status of semantic indexing of user and tenant level indexing for individual tenants. Organizations are advised to use the process above to check on indexing status for their tenants.

To learn more about Semantic Index for Copilot, check out these resources:


Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is generally available as an add-on to customers with Microsoft E3 or E5. Contact your Microsoft account team to start the purchase process.

Additional resources

You can learn more about Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 by reviewing these resources:

You can also stay up to date on the latest Copilot features, changes, and announcements using the Message center in the Microsoft 365 admin center.