What you need to know
- Microsoft has announced that it's bringing AI to Outlook.
- The new AI functionality exists in the form of a "copilot" that can help with replying to messages.
- The AI is smart enough to analyse email content and generate a response based on what the user asks for.
Microsoft has announced several new AI capabilities coming to Microsoft 365, including a new AI Copilot feature for Outlook that will be able to analyse and generate responses to emails, based on requests outlined by the user. No longer will you need to write out long emails, as Copilot for Outlook can do it all for you.
In the example posed by Microsoft, a user asks Copilot to reply to an email with approval, while also highlighting key risks from a document that Copilot is able to source by simply mentioning the file name. Copilot then does the rest, including reading the original email for context, then the document, and then writing up a reply with those detailed highlighted.
This is how Microsoft describes Copilot for Outlook:
"Copilot in Outlook works with you in your inbox and messages so that you can spend less time on email triage and more time on communicating—better, faster, and more easily. Summarize lengthy, convoluted email threads with multiple people to understand not only what has been said, but the different viewpoints of each person and the open questions that have yet to be answered. Respond to an existing email with a simple prompt or turn quick notes into crisp, professional messages—pulling from other emails or content that you already have access to from across Microsoft 365."
Microsoft has also announced Copilot for a number of other Office applications, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Copilot functions similarly across each application, with the ability to use natural language to ask each app to generate content based on parameters detailed by the user.
Being able to ask Copilot to source additional files also adds to the power of this AI, as it will be able to include context from files that may not be sourced on the internet. This will be excellent for referring to internal data at work.
AI functionality in Outlook is currently being previewed with a select group of Microsoft 365 customers, and will roll out more broadly over the coming months.
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