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Writing good prompts is key to getting better outcomes with Copilot. Just like there are techniques to help you communicate effectively with a human, there are tips to help you get better results with Copilot when writing prompts. 

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Include details: In addition to your goal (what you want Copilot to do), consider including some context, explain how Copilot should respond to fulfill your request, and any specific information source Copilot should use (such as a file or email messages). Try the following two prompts using Copilot in Word, and compare the responses you get. Which prompt gave you a richer and more concise blog post draft?

    • Prompt 1: Write a blog post about sustainable practices in agriculture.

    • Prompt 2: Craft a 1500-word blog post for a general audience interested in sustainability, focusing on the significance and benefits of sustainable agricultural practices like organic farming and agroforestry. Include real-world examples, innovative technologies, and insights from reputable sources. Conclude with a reflection on the importance of these practices and a call for collective efforts to embrace them

  • Structure your prompts for better results. When it comes to prompts, order matters. The order of your instructions can impact the response you get. Later parts of a prompt are likely to be emphasized more than earlier parts. Experiment with different orders to understand the impact. If you want Copilot to use specific files or sources, put that information last. Try the following two prompts using Copilot in Word, and compare the responses you get. What differences do you see here?

    • Prompt 1 (instruction-context-example):  Craft a blog post outlining the benefits of meditation. Meditation has been a practice for centuries and is known for reducing stress. For instance, mindfulness meditation has shown positive effects on mental health.

    • Prompt 2 (context-example-instruction): Meditation has been a practice for centuries and is known for reducing stress. Mindfulness meditation, for example, has shown positive effects on mental health. Given this, craft a blog post outlining the benefits of meditation.

  • Provide positive instructions. Copilot is built to take action, so telling Copilot what “to do” rather than what “not to do” is more effective. Try using “if-then” instructions.

  • Iterate and regenerate: Often the first result isn’t the final or best response. If you’re not satisfied with the results Copilot gave you, revise your prompt, and try again. Try the following three iterations and see how the responses can improve with each iteration.

    • Round 1: Write about advancements in renewable energy technologies.

    • Round 2: Write a technical article discussing recent advancements in renewable energy technologies, focusing on solar and wind energy, for an audience of engineers and environmental scientists.

    • Round 3: Compose a detailed technical article for engineers and environmental scientists, exploring recent advancements and innovations in renewable energy technologies, with a focus on solar and wind energy. Discuss the scientific principles behind these technologies, their efficiency improvements, and real-world applications. Refer to recent research papers, patents, and industry reports for accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Always review and verify the responses you get from Copilot.  Copilot is built upon Large Language Models (LLMs), which are trained to predict the next words and phrases. LLMs can occasionally generate content that is biased, offensive, harmful, or incorrect. Therefore, it is imperative to consistently review and validate the responses for accuracy and appropriateness.

See also

Microsoft Copilot help & learning

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