March 15, 2024 Knowledge Center Office 365

SUCCESS’s Guide to AI: How to Prompt Microsoft Copilot

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By now, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft Copilot, a new AI-based virtual assistant that is taking the tech industry by storm.  

To make AI systems like Microsoft Copilot as effective as possible, you must provide it with instructions (known as prompts) that are well-written and include specific details. But writing good prompts can be trickier than you think, so consider the following elements and best practices to ensure your interaction with Copilot is a success.  

What do I need to include in my prompts to get the desired result? 

The best written prompts include each of the following four parts. However, doing so is not essential to getting some form of result. Telling Copilot your goal, though, is always required.  

Goal: What you want from Copilot (i.e. the desired result) 

Ex. I need a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes our Sales results from Q4…  

Context: Why you want Copilot to complete the request and who your intended audience is. 

Ex. … that will be shared with our Sales team during our next team meeting. 

Expectations: How Copilot should respond to best fulfill your request.  

Ex. The presentation should be formatted using [saved templated] and consist of 10 slides. Additionally, the information should be presented in a way that is concise and straightforward… 

Source: The location from where Copilot should pull any relevant or related data and information. 

Ex. … and use the data stored in [relevant spreadsheet] saved in [specific folder] in OneDrive. Incorporate the graphs from {relevant spreadsheet] as visuals in the presentation. 

What are some best practices for prompting AI systems like Copilot? 

The above list merely covers the basics of a good prompt. Consider the following tips how to take your ability to prompt an AI system to the next level.  

  1. Be as detailed as possible: The more information you add to your prompt beyond just your goal, such as context, source, or your expectations, the better results you will get.  
  2. Use positive instructions: Telling Copilot what you want it to accomplish versus telling it what you don’t want it to do is more effective and less likely to result in any confusion for the system. Do this by using If-Then instructions when writing your prompt.  
  3. Structure your prompts: The order in which you ask Copilot to accomplish a task matters. Try entering your prompt multiple ways to see which yields the result that best suits your needs (e.g. listing your goal first versus listing it at the end of the prompt). 
  4. Edit and regenerate: Copilot (and all large-language model-based AI systems for that matter) generate a slightly different result each time you enter a prompt. If you don’t like the result Copilot provides the first time, revise your phrasing and try again. Repeat this until you feel your request has been properly fulfilled. 
  5. Confirm and clarify: Determine if Copilot has the appropriate information to fulfill your request by asking questions like “Do you understand?” or “Do you require further information to process this request?”. Doing so will ensure that your goal and intention is understood.  

How is SUCCESS embracing Copilot? 

SUCCESS is participating in Microsoft’s first AI Partner Summit in Redmond, Washington at their headquarters. We are one of 30 partners that were selected to participate. 

We are also hosting Copilot User Group events for our customers and prospects to share best practices. If you’re interested in participating, reach out to for information on our next session. 

Elevate Your Productivity with Good AI Prompts 

Being able to successfully prompt Microsoft Copilot with well-written instructions will ultimately be a huge time-saver and productivity booster as you need to create content and complete daily, repetitive tasks. For easier access to these tips and tricks for how to prompt Copilot (and other AI systems!), download our Copilot guide and prompting cheat sheet. And, if you’re not sure if your current IT is ready for Copilot implementation but you’re interested in learning where to begin, contact our team and we’ll you help you get started.