Microsoft’s Copilot chatbot has proven itself to be a formidable contender in the AI marketplace. While Google’s “Bard” bot relies on a proprietary LLM, Copilot operates on the same models as ChatGPT. In fact, it even gives users access to GPT-4 for free, something ChatGPT users need to pay $20 a month to access.
That said, the consumer-facing Copilot experience is centered mostly around text and image generation, as well as conversational search. If your work uses Microsoft 365, you’ve already had access to a premium version of Copilot, which Microsoft always promised was coming to consumers down the line. As it turns out, we’ve now arrived at that line, in the form of “Copilot Pro.”
What makes Copilot “Pro?”
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The main standout of Copilot Pro is access to Copilot in Microsoft 365 apps. At launch, that includes Windows, Mac, and iPad, but it’s coming soon to apps on iPhone and Android. That means you can use AI Clippy in Microsoft Word, Excel (in preview), Powerpoint, Outlook, and OneNote (Windows only). If you have any experience using AI tools like ChatGPT or even Copilot free, you can imagine how many use cases there are here within the Microsoft’s Office suite.
You could ask Copilot to generate a proposal in Word from a combination of meeting notes from OneNote and a separate client document; request the AI bot to analyze a spreadsheet and report specific trends it sees from the data; or hit “Start catchup” in Outlook to review the most important emails first (at least what Copilot thinks is most important). You can see more examples of how Microsoft sees you using Copilot in 365 apps on its official page here.
These features aren’t anything new: Microsoft first announced Copilot for Microsoft 365 back in March of last year, and business users have had access to Copilot in 365 apps since November. But it’s the first time general consumers can try out these AI tools in both their work and personal use.
But it’s not just AI-powered Office that makes Copilot Pro more efficient than its free version. With Pro, you get priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo during peak times. While the free version of Copilot is awesome because you can use GPT-4 without paying for ChatGPT Plus, you’ll lose access to OpenAI’s more advanced LLM when demand is too high. It’s not unlike what happens to users on virtual carriers (like Mint Mobile) during peak cell service times.
Going Pro also gives you access to DALL-E 3, via Designer (once known as Bing Image Creator), including landscape images (instead of just portrait). You now get 100 “boosts” rather than 15, which means you have more opportunities to prioritize your image generation requests. As with a ChatGPT Plus subscription, you’ll also be able to build Copilot GPTs of your own, an easy way to generate a Copilot bot that can do whatever you want it to.
How much does Copilot Pro cost?
At launch, Microsoft is charging $20 per month for Copilot Pro. However, that won’t include access to Microsoft 365 and its apps. In order to use Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., you’ll need to separately subscribe to 365, which costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year for individuals. That raises the price to $25.83 or $26.99 per month if you want to take advantage of that side of Copilot Pro.
It gets more expensive if you’re on a family plan, too: Copilot Pro only offers individual subscriptions, so any members of a 365 family plan will need to pay $20 a month each for access.
You can subscribe to Copilot Pro from Microsoft’s site here.