5 ways ChatGPT can transform Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office, now known as Microsoft 365, already has a few AI-powered tools thanks to Project Turing. Since 2017, the latter has offered features such as Assistive AI (see below) for suggested email replies and “Smart Find” for searching your documents.
But OpenAI tools like ChatGPT promise to align with Microsoft’s AI research to improve these functions and unlock new ones. With its skills in language processing and data analysis, Microsoft’s partnership with ChatGPT can help…
1. Solve your email headache
For most of us, email has become an old chore that lacks the immediacy of the best online collaboration tools like Slack. But Generative Pre-Trained Converters (or GPTs) promise to be able to tame our inboxes, thanks to their ability to process blocks of text and elicit their meaning.
According to The Information, “Microsoft recently looked at how Outlook and Word can use GPT to suggest automatic replies to other emails.” This would go well beyond the simple autocomplete suggestions we have now – Microsoft also seems to have talked about creating “chatbot-style programs inside Word and Outlook that type entire bits of text”.
Ultimately, your role in the email may be to agree with the suggested responses or modify them slightly, rather than to devote an hour to looking through them. ChatGPT can also help schedule meetings or organize travel, all of which sound like good news to us.
2. It made you (look) a better writer
One of ChatGPT’s great strengths is the generation of prompt response text. The content of the AI chatbot’s responses isn’t always as factually correct as the tone of confidence implies, but the writing itself can convincingly embrace the nuances and personality of a particular author.
This is where ChatGPT, and in particular the inbound GPT-4 model, can have some of its biggest implications for the likes of Outlook and Word. Third-party applications such as Hemingway already act as default sub-editors, but these tools will increasingly be integrated into applications such as Microsoft Office to improve our writing.
You’ll be able to press a button and get a more compact version of the report you just wrote, or get suggestions for removing terms. What is the potential impact of auto-generated text on our writing skills? That’s a thorny question for another day, but in the short term it could smooth out wrinkles like the over-reliance on the passive voice in our documents and emails.
3. Summarize your meetings
Microsoft’s “At a Glance” feature is already capable of summarizing your Word documents with bullet summaries, but ChatGPT integration could take this to the next level and spread it across Microsoft 365 apps.
For example, a long report can be automatically converted into an easily digestible PowerPoint presentation. The same technology can also automatically summarize texts generated during your Teams meetings, saving you the task of creating a follow-up email from scratch.
This combination of Turing’s ability to understand text and ChatGPT’s ability to automatically generate it would take a sickle to replicate the experience many of us create documents or written text for multiple formats, from presentations to email. You’ll still have the power of the final sign off, but the legal work of creating PowerPoints and post-meeting emails may soon be crossed off your “to-do” list.
4. Create fancy PowerPoint images
ChatGPT’s AI powers also align nicely with another OpenAI creation, Dall-E, which went viral last year before the chatbot. Dall-E is a powerful text-to-image generator that can generate visuals (with mixed results) from simple prompts–which can be a very useful way to improve your PowerPoint presentations.
According to a report by The Information, Microsoft has internally discussed “plans to allow PowerPoint customers to use OpenAI’s Dall-E 2 image creation model to create new visuals for presentations.” This can work in conjunction with ChatGPT’s ability to summarize pieces of text with bullet summaries, effectively creating draft presentations.
This visual aid is something Adobe referred to as a “creative assistant,” allowing you to simply describe the things you want to add to a scene or image. While it has major ramifications for digital art, it can also make PowerPoint presentations a lot less of a waste of time, too.
5. Turning you into an Excel whiz
Not everyone likes to spend time on Microsoft Excel, but ChatGPT’s data analysis and query response capabilities can make the spreadsheet tool a more beginner-friendly niche.
Reddit forums have already illuminated ways people have found to connect ChatGPT to Excel (see video below). And Microsoft’s huge investment in OpenAI brings the promise that those skills will be built directly into applications like Microsoft’s spreadsheet king.
It can, for example, pull data based on a simple prompt (“List the top five companies in the world by profit”), create Excel formulas and macros, or create charts to visualize the data for you.
Having a chatbot that lives inside Excel, ready to analyze data and help you with visualizations, would be a huge boon for beginners and save huge time for experienced users as well.