Getting Started with MS Copilot Notebook

If you use Microsoft Office to write your documents, and want to take advantage of the latest in AI computing, then I’d recommend using Microsoft’s Copilot suite of tools.

In the following set of tutorials, we’ll look at how you can weave Microsoft Copilot into your daily workflow, how to connect it to MS Word online, and other ways to speed up the ways you draft, plan, and write documents.

Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft Copilot is an AI assistant designed to help you understand information better through a simple chat experience. Essentially, it’s an AI companion that you can interact with via a chatbox.

Note that there are several different versions of Copilot, each serving different use cases. For example, there’s a very popular version which software developers can plugin into tools such as Visual Studio when writing their code. We’ll cover this in future posts.

In these series of tutorials, we’ll look at the online version you can find it on Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365.

In Edge, for example, it’s embedded in the user interface, so that when you’re performing a search, you can use it to refine your search, learn more about the search results, and drill down to get more granular information. Think of it as a deluxe assistant for the search experience.

Click here to search with Copilot.

Microsoft Notebook

The Notebook feature in Microsoft Copilot is specifically designed to write prompts.

Think of it as an alternative to CHATGPT. The user interface is designed to allow you to ask questions – these are referred to as ‘prompts’ as you’re prompting the AI for answers – and use the answers to develop the plans, guides, or specifications, you’re writing in MS Word or Excel.

Again, if you use it like CHATGPT, you’ll find it very useful, especially as we’ll see in a minute, it connects automatically to MS Word. This is fantastic as you can ask questions to the AI in one window, then export the answers to MS Word, without having to copy/paste and reformat test. It’s a massive timesaver if live in Word.

As an aside, Google Gemini has a similar feature which allows you to export to Google Docs and Sheets.

How does Copilot Notebook work?

When you go to Notebook, you’ll see a simple screen with two panes.  

In the left pane, enter your prompt. Note that you can also upload an image or use the voice command. This is terrific when you use Notebook on your phone.  

In the right pane, the response is displayed. You can export this directly to Word, convert to PDF and share on X (Twitter).

How many characters can I enter in Notebook?

You can enter 18,000 characters in Notebook. This is much more than the 4,000 character limit found in Copilot. If you want to upload very detailed materials for the Copilot to analyze, Notebook is where you should be working.

Understanding the Notebook user interface

To get started, let’s look at the user interface, so you know how to get started.

Then we’ll look at how to write a prompt, export the results to Word, and share the response to social media. The exact steps might vary slightly depending on the specific Copilot application you are using:

Writing a Prompt

To write a prompt, follow these steps:

  • Go to Notebook. You’ll see a screen with two panes.
  • In the left pane, type in the question you want to ask. You can also copy/paste in here from Word, Excel, or a text file.
  • Click Submit or press enter.

The response starts to generate in the right pane. If you notice it’s heading in the wrong direction with the answer, click Stop Responding, then tweak your prompt and submit again.  

Adding an Image to a Prompt

You can add an image to a prompt if you think this will help the AI understand your question, for example, by giving it more context.

To add an image to a prompt, follow these steps:

  • Go to Notebook.
  • In the left pane, scroll to the bottom and click Add an Image.
  • Enter your text. For example, “Tell me the name of the artist who created this picture?”
  • Click Submit or press enter.

Using Voice to write a Prompt

Instead of typing, use the voice option. This is super helpful if you’re using a phone.

To write a prompt using voice, follow these steps:

  • Go to Notebook.
  • In the left pane, scroll to the bottom and click Use microphone.
  • Enter your text. For example, “Tell me who wrote the book The Little Princess?”
  • Click Submit or press enter.

How to edit prompts

One of the advantages of Notebook is that you can edit your prompt without losing what you previous wrote.

In contrast, if you do this in Copilot, each time you change the prompt, it overrides what you wrote and essentially starts again.

Using Notebook, you can iteratively refine your prompt to get the response you want. I’d also suggest to save your prompts in a text file and place it on your Desktop. It’s good to have these at hand if you know that a specifically crafted prompt get you the exact answer you were after.

PS – You get 30 prompts per session. This is displayed in the lower right of the screen.

Exporting Results to Word

Once the results are displayed in the right pane, you can export the results to Word.

  • In the right pane, scroll to the bottom and click the Export
  • Click Word.

After a few moments, one of two things will happen depending on your account settings.

  • A MS Word file is downloaded to your computer. From here you can open the file in Word.
  • The Word file is displayed in MS Office 365, that is, the online version of Word. From here, you can Export the file and save it to your PC.

Note that the file is correctly formatted with headings and styles so you don’t have to reformat it.

Exporting Results to PDF

  • In the right pane, scroll to the bottom and click the Export
  • Select PDF.

A popup window is displayed where you can Print to PDF.

Sharing the Response to Twitter

  • In the right pane, scroll to the bottom and click the Share
  • Select one of the following options:
  • Copy the link.
  • Share via Email
  • Publish on Facebook, X or Pinterest

Remember, these steps may vary depending on the Copilot application and platform you’re using.

In the next tutorial, we’ll look at how to create a workflow between Copilot Notebook and MS Office.

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