Most of us have been using Microsoft Excel for decades to capture numerical information in spreadsheets. Some have even used its advanced tools to analyse that data. With Microsoft Copilot Excel, AI will increase your ability to provide invaluable insights without decades of experience mastering Pivot Tables.

In short, Microsoft Copilot Excel will allow you to fulfil the long-term promise of AI: to work smarter and faster. Read on to find out how.

How Microsoft Copilot Excel will help

Microsoft 365 Copilot will assist users with data analysis in Excel spreadsheets by formatting the data, creating graphs, generating PivotTables, summarising the information and identifying any trends.

That’s a lot to take in, so let’s use the example from Microsoft’s introduction to the technology. (Full video below, but we’ve jumped to the relevant point about Excel.)

You have a spreadsheet full of sales figures from Q1. You ask Copilot, “Analyse the data and give me three key trends”. A few seconds later you get a simple bullet point list summarising the three trends it has identified.

You want to go further, so ask Copilot to provide a breakdown of one of those trends. It creates a new sheet that focuses on the relevant data, at which point you ask it to help you visualise the decline in growth.

You can then use familiar tools such as colour coding and sparklines to show this — you’ll be shown prompts with suggestions — or you can ask a natural language question.

In the example, that is “What would have happened if Reusable containers had maintained the prior quarter’s growth rate?”. Copilot then beavers away, creates a new table (with colour coding) and explains how it came up with the result.

Of course, this is a demo, not a real-world example. But if you’ve already tapped into the power of AI through ChatGPT or Bing, you will appreciate how this could work in practice.

Beyond the basics

In addition, Copilot can guide users to exploit the formidable power contained within Excel.

This could be suggesting commands or formulas based on your questions. This doesn’t need to be complicated: it could be as simple as filtering out the highest or the lowest value.

You will also be able to create draft budgets, general accounting tasks, generate graphs, and help make assumptions about sales results or which outcome will occur if we change one of the particular cell’s information and what will happen to growth.

Ultimately, Copilot will revolutionise how we work with our data. It will enable us to clean the data, get richer insights, create visualisations and build financial models within a few minutes. And we’ll be able to do it all using real language.

Related: Guide to Microsoft Copilot Word

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Jason Wynn

Microsoft is hard-wired into Jason’s DNA. He is a Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Trainer, with nearly two decades of experience across everything from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams to Office 365. His day job is Presales Specialist at Carillion.