Microsoft 365: Copilot vs Pilot for Microsoft 365 – PowerPoint

Please note that since the writing of this post in January 2024 that Microsoft has changed the name of the Copilot products and also the licensing. See this post in February for updated licensing information. Copilot: Which are which? (thirdtier.net)

The purpose of this series is to compare the functionality differences between the free version available to everyone and the paid version which has serious access limitations for most businesses. Today we’ll compare how we can work with PowerPoint.

This the 5th part of series which you can fine here: How to Copilot – Ultimate Support for IT Pros – ThirdTier

The Mission

I have four documents that I’ve written on how to prevent four specific types of malware using Microsoft Defender. I’m now being called upon to make a presentation. I want to use these documents as the basis for the presentation. I want a Copilot that will create a presentation for me. I expect that I’ll have to do some editing afterwards, but a head start on the task at hand would really save me time. I’ve seen some Microsoft demo’s where Copilot really shines at this task, so I’m excited to try it out.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 – the app

Using the online version of Microsoft 365, I have noticed that there is a now a Copilot app icon. I’m going to start with this. This Copilot app appears to be called Microsoft 365 Copilot chat. Given the name, I’m expecting that it’s going to behave much like Microsoft 365: Copilot (the Bing chat). Of course, we all know how horrible Microsoft’s naming conventions are, maybe that’s not what I should expect.

Let’s find out.

I click on the Copilot app and I ask my question.

Response from the Copilot app

Honestly, if I wanted to create my own presentation from scratch, I wouldn’t have bothered to ask Copilot. The app did not help me with this mission.

Microsoft 365 Copilot – PowerPoint

Now we’re going to open PowerPoint and give this another try.

Copilot is in the main menu

My prompt has to be modified a bit to address this version of Copilot. Copilot gives a few suggestions right off the bat. These are known as starter prompts. One of them seems to be exactly my use case!

Starter prompts in PowerPoint

How to reference a file in Copilot

Notice how files are referenced.

type / and then starting typing the file name to located it

There’s a syntax convention in use here. You type a / so that the prompt screen knows that you want to attach a file to the prompt. Once I type /, Copilot tries to guess which file I might want to attach and presents them in a list above my typing area to select from. If the file I want isn’t in the list, then I just start typing the name of the file until the list updates with the one I’d like.

The prompt and the result

The prompt and the disappointing response

Here’s my prompt. I felt really good about this prompt. I listed the four files that I wanted to use to create my presentation. I asked Copilot to include other relevant information on these topics from Microsoft. I provided the presentation style and audience description. I asked for sections in the presentation.

I was so disappointed at the response. I would definitely click the thumbs down.

Copilot suggests that I try using a starter prompt. Well, that’s how I started this, by selecting the starter prompt for Create presentation from file…

Sigh

Let’s try again. I’ve noticed that only one of my files is a hyperlink so maybe it can only deal with one file. I’ll remove all but a single file from this prompt and try again.

Success!

By selecting only a single file, Copilot was able to create a PowerPoint presentation. It created a 7-page PowerPoint presentation and pointed me to Designer if I wasn’t happy with the layout. This is much more like what I was expecting.

Selecting a single file allowed Copilot to create the presentation

But I do still want to incorporate the other files as additional sections of the presentation.

Copilot is limited to using a single file

Unfortunately, it seems that Copilot is limited to using a single file to build a presentation. When I asked it to add a section based on an attached file, it couldn’t. When I asked if it could add a section at all, it gave the same response.

My solution here would be to join all four of my files into a single document and then restart my prompts to create the presentation.

This seems like a 1.0 problem. I hope that Microsoft will improve Copilot so that I can reference more than one document at a time. I don’t think I’m far off field in saying that this would be a common way of building a presentation.

Microsoft 365: Copilot

It’s time to give the free version of Copilot a try. Remember this is the Copilot formerly known as Bing Chat Enterprise.

Let’s start with the basics.

Can you create a powerpoint presentation for me?

I’m sorry, but I cannot create a powerpoint presentation for you. That is beyond my capabilities as a chat mode of Microsoft Bing. However, I can help you with some tips and resources on how to create a powerpoint presentation yourself. 😊

Note that Copilot doesn’t have spell check, nor does it use the correct case for PowerPoint. Maybe because I didn’t?

This innocent question resulted in a long lesson with references on how to create a PowerPoint presentation myself. The response was not exactly what I was hoping for. Building on my learning from Word and Excel, next I’m going to try to paste in the text of my document and see if it will create a PowerPoint presentation from it.

Results from text paste in

When I pasted in the text from my document, Copilot again told me that it couldn’t make a slide, but it did offer tips like changing my paragraphs into bullet points. And then, it did what you see below.

To give you an example, I have created a sample slide for the first section of your text, using the suggestions above. You can use this as a reference to create the rest of your slides. Here is the sample slide:

# Preventing the PlugX Malware

## What is PlugX Malware?

- A malicious software that uses ASCII extended character encoding to hide code
- The code can be autoplayed upon insertion of removable media such as USB drives
- The malware can compromise the security and performance of your device

## How to Prevent PlugX Malware?

- Turn off AutoRun for removable media
- Block untrusted and unsigned processes from running via USB
- Use Intune endpoint manager to create and apply policies

I hope this helps you with your powerpoint presentation. Good luck! 🍀

It’s kind of the worst slide ever designed, even for a technical audience. Although I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen some slides like this while sitting in a death by PowerPoint session. Also note above that PowerPoint is spelled powerpoint by Copilot.

Summary

I’m still disappointed. More so because creating PowerPoint presentations, is one of the demo’s that Microsoft keeps showing. They point it at a 56-page document and in a minute or so, out pops a presentation. The paid version sort of works like that, as we saw, but the version of Copilot available for the rest of us doesn’t do so well at this task. I’m actually disappointed in both. More so, because next to Outlook, PowerPoint is the application I use the most so I’m well aware of the productivity gains to be had. A great assistant at my side getting a deck started for me could save me a lot of time. An hour-long presentation often takes me 20 hours to create. I can imagine an assistant shaving half of that time for me. I hope a Copilot accessible to small businesses gets there one day soon.

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