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Create a summary of your document with Copilot
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Note: This feature is available to customers with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license or Copilot Pro license.

If you just received a lengthy document to review, save time by letting Copilot in Word help you distill it down to key points.

  1. Open an existing document.

  2. Select Copilot from the ribbon to open the Copilot pane.

  3. In the Copilot compose box, enter in "summarize this document."

  4. In Copilot's summary, select References to view citations of where Copilot pulled information from inside the document.

Create a summary when sharing

Note: This feature is currently only available in Word for the web to customers with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license. 

Copilot can generate summaries when sharing an unencrypted document with collaborators. Encrypted documents aren't supported at this time.

  1. In an existing document, select the Share button.

  2. In the Share window, select the Icon for Copilot in the Microsoft app icon inside the "Add a message" compose box.

    1. Copilot will generate a summary of the document for easier sharing.

  3. Once Copilot generates the summary, you can edit it however you need.

After you've shared the Word file, the email notification to your collaborators includes the summary generated by Copilot.

Screenshot of the Copilot in Word share window with the option to generate an AI summary

Screenshot of Copilot in Word AI-Generated Summary result when sharing a file

Review the results

Review the summary Copilot generated. How does it flow? Is it ready to share? Or does it need a little more work? 

Often the first response isn't perfect. Artificial intelligence (AI) works best with a little back-and-forth conversation. You can get better results by providing more context and details about what you're after.

Provide more context and details

Include some context and a few details in your prompts to get better results with Copilot. Who's the summary for? Why do you need it? How do you plan to use it? Try using prompts like these:

  • What should business decision makers know about <subject in your document>? Why is it important to understand these things?

  • I need to share the main points of this document with my teammates. Write a few paragraphs that include why these points are important to our company.

Are there any calls to action? What should we do next?

With each prompt, Copilot scans the document again, and then generates a response. You can continue submitting prompts until you're pleased with the results.

Try suggested prompts

Copilot offers suggested prompts to try, too. You can always type your own prompts for Copilot. You can also use suggested prompts. With each response, you'll see one or more suggested prompts. Give one a try and see what happens.

Current limitations

  • For Copilot to generate summaries, the reference content needs to have at least 300 words.

  • Copilot is currently limited to a maximum of around 18,000 to 20,000 words it can process for a single query or prompt for features like generating document summaries and chatting with Copilot.

Learn more

Welcome to Copilot in Word

Frequently asked questions about Copilot in Word

Where can I get Microsoft Copilot?

Copilot Lab - Help, learning, and prompts

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