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Leverage AI for Efficiency: Microsoft Copilot in Excel Guide
Blog //08-05-2024

Leverage AI for Efficiency: Microsoft Copilot in Excel Guide

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

Microsoft Excel has been the go-to-tool for spreadsheet management for organisations all over the globe for many years. Now, Microsoft is revolutionising workplace efficiency by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) throughout its product suite, and Excel is no exception to this.

Recognising the evolving need for smarter and quicker data management, Microsoft has introduced Copilot to Excel, harnessing the advanced AI capabilities of GPT-4. This leap forward empowers users to dramatically enhance their productivity and streamline spreadsheet tasks like never before.

In this blog, we'll discuss the top five ways to use Copilot in Microsoft Excel, taking advantage of artificial intelligence to improve your productivity and streamline workflow processes.

Top Copilot in Microsoft Excel Uses

1.     Quickly Create PivotTables

PivotTables are crucial for leveraging Microsoft Excel to its full potential. They enable users to summarise data and identify trends, which are fundamental for any organisation aiming to monitor performance and drive success. However, the creation of a PivotTable demands both time and effort, often requiring a significant portion of your day.

Fortunately, Copilot for Microsoft Excel streamlines this process considerably. By simply instructing Copilot with a command such as “Create a PivotTable based on [your chosen data],” you can create a PivotTable in just one step.

Additionally, Copilot offers an even more intuitive approach by allowing users to request specific statistics from a dataset. For instance, by asking, “What is the total value of my inventory?”, Copilot can automatically generate a PivotTable to present the requested information.

This capability not only saves valuable time but also enhances productivity by simplifying a process that no longer needs to interrupt your workflow.

2.     Create Data Visualisations

Data visualisation is key for simplifying and understanding complex information, as visual elements like charts and graphs are much easier for our brain to process than raw numbers and datasets.

However, crafting visually appealing and informative graphics that provide clarity whilst thoroughly conveying important information often demands considerable time and meticulous attention to detail. Now, Microsoft Copilot can do this with just a simple prompt.

Users can simply instruct Copilot with requests such as “Visualise this table of data,” facilitating the immediate generation of visual representations. Furthermore, Copilot's capabilities extend beyond basic tables; it can also handle and visualise datasets from advanced sources, including Python code, directly within Excel.

Rather than having to fiddle around with parameters to ensure that your visualisation is perfect, Copilot does it all in a matter of seconds.

3.     Discover Trends in Data

While we’re pretty good at finding trends in data, it’s pretty easy for the human brain to miss trends and patterns in data. After all, sometimes you’ll see certain trends while missing others, and some trends are too subtle to be found by the naked eye.

Microsoft Copilot addresses this limitation by ensuring comprehensive trend detection across your data sets. It excels in uncovering new trends and patterns swiftly by conducting an in-depth analysis and highlighting the most significant insights.

All you have to do is ask Copilot to “Analyse [your chosen data] and summarise five key trends”, which will initiate a thorough examination of the data, allowing Copilot to provide a detailed analysis and summary of crucial trends in just a few seconds.

4.     Highlight, Sort and Filter Data

If unsorted, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can become messy and hard to navigate, making it difficult to find specific information. While Excel’s filtering and sorting tools are pretty good, it can still take a while to find what you’re looking for. With Copilot,  this can now be done in seconds.

Simply instruct Copilot to sort or filter your data in whatever way you’d like, such as “Sort this data by cost, lowest to highest”, or ask it to find a specific part of your data and highlight it to you. Copilot's ability to rapidly execute these commands not only saves valuable time but also simplifies data organisation, making it significantly more manageable.

5.     Generate Formula Columns

Formula columns are essential for performing calculations within spreadsheets, allowing you to consolidate multiple columns into comprehensive calculations, saving you time and effort. However, devising the appropriate formulas for complex calculations can be difficult.

Microsoft Copilot can take care of this in seconds, generating a formula column to fulfil your needs with a simple prompt. All you need to do is ask Copilot to “make a formula column based on [the specified data]” and Copilot will do so, giving you a formula column to insert into your spreadsheet.

Alternatively, there is an even more seamless way of doing this. By simply clicking the ‘show suggestions for formula columns’ option, Copilot presents you with suggested formula columns that are specifically designed to enhance your spreadsheet's functionality and efficiency, further optimising your data management processes.

How to Get Started

Microsoft Copilot is a powerful tool that can truly empower your workflow, turning previously complex tasks into simple prompts. With it, you can turn tasks that would take time out of your day into the time that it takes to type a simple sentence, letting you dedicate your time to more important tasks.

OneAdvanced's relationship with Microsoft goes back over 30 years, over which our Modern Workplace experts have helped numerous organisations digitally transform and embrace a better way of working. If you’re looking to take advantage of Copilot but don’t know where to start, reach out to us today.

Blog Workplace Services (EUC) Microsoft
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