man sitting in a dim room waiting of the computer to do AI generated presentations with Copilot Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint Tips

Microsoft’s Copilot: Making PowerPoint Presentations painless, even for amateurs?

May 10, 2024

(Header image by: CottonBro Studios)

 

Would you trust a robot to make your business decisions? 

The question is certainly oversimplifying the matter of Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, it can feel that clear-cut at times. 

With the widespread adoption of AI — in the form of ChatCPT, Gemini, Dall-E, and QuillBot, for example — it may be starting to feel like “the robots are taking over”. Yet, our increasing need to be more and more efficient and economical keeps pushing us toward using the resources we already have at our disposal, including the little brain inside your computer. 

So you start writing your presentation speeches with Gemini and generating content with Dall-E and things go okay. Enter, Microsoft’s Copilot. Another AI application to make your business life easier, quicker, and cheaper. 

But — can these bots truly replace the use of human talent? Could you use Copilot to create visually appealing slide decks rather than hiring an expert presentation designer? 

Let’s consider it.

 

Introducing Copilot — an assistant always at your side 

For those who are not yet aware, Microsoft has launched the Copilot application — an assistant on your laptop. It uses large language models and the preexisting data in your Microsoft apps to make you more productive and, in theory, to leave you less reliant on other people’s skills. 

The Copilot AI is embedded into all applications in the Microsoft 356 Suite. About PowerPoint specifically, Microsoft says, “Copilot in PowerPoint helps you create beautiful presentations with a simple prompt, adding relevant content from a document you made last week or last year.” 

Sounds great, right? They’ve even provided a step-by-step guide on how exactly to use it to get just what you need. On top of that, similar applications have proven to boost productivity. 

GitHub did a study of its own copilot tool to find out whether it was really helping developers. They found that of developers who used GitHub Copilot, 88% said they were more productive, 74% claimed they had better focus when it came to work that satisfied them, and 77% said it helped them spend less time searching for information or examples.

And if a copilot can be that useful to the devs, it can be that useful to anyone — or at least that’s what the analytical, structure-focused, left-brained minds believe.

 

Ready for Takeoff? Using Copilot to help you with presentation designs 

With all that in mind — you can imagine that the Copilot – PowerPoint combination can elevate your amateur designs. From there, you’re drawn further into its allure when you remember you can save a buck. 

The Copilot app comes with its benefits. However, as with all things, it comes with its downsides too.

Here’s what pairing Copilot with PowerPoint can and can’t do for you.

 

The pros of using Microsoft’s Copilot for PowerPoint 

If you’re looking for reasons why you should make use of this tool, look no further. 

1. You are more efficient 

The Copilot app undoubtedly accelerates the design process.

Briefing designers and having to go back and forth with edits will no longer consume your time or your brain power. You can put in your prompts and have your professional-looking slide deck back in no time. 

It also takes a lot of the “busy work” out of process, by automating your layout, for example.

 

2. You save on design costs

You cannot deny that good design is a skill. As such, presentation designers charge for their services. Using Copilot, you’ll not have to worry about costs at all. 

The Copilot application offers you assistance with the design, giving you suggestions for color schemes, font combinations, and graphic elements to add. You are guaranteed to have a consistent, visually appealing slide deck at the end of it. 

 

3. You improve your content 

As mentioned before, you simply have to input your thoughts and get what you need. 

Copilot AI can take your input and suggest content for you. It can summarize your key points and provide you with interesting and relevant data to add. In other words, it can assist you in fleshing out your thoughts and capturing them in an easy-to-understand, concise way. 

 

4. You can ask for help at any time 

The Copilot — Powerpoint connection is endless, which means that you can always ask the AI for help, anytime, day or night. You won’t have to await feedback from anyone and you can work at whatever hour suits you best. 

 

The cons of using Microsoft’s Copilot for PowerPoint 

What will you miss out on, though? In which areas is CoPilot lacking? 

1. You may lack originality  

The problem people face with AI usage most often is originality. This remains the case when you choose to use Copilot for Powerpoint designs. 

The Copilot app can take in and understand your brand guidelines or corporate identity (if you have these), and apply them to the slide deck. The issue arises when you want a presentation that will leave people thinking about it for days to come, something that pops, something highly unique and customized, one of a kind. 

Designs generated using AI will always have a sense of rigidity or genericness. Investors, who view numerous slide decks weekly, will likely be able to tell when they get repetitive. Designers will also be able to pick out AI-generated work relatively quickly. 

 

2. You will miss the creative flair 

Using apps to help you speed up the process is great, but unfortunately, it limits creativity. 

When you have a presentation designer on your side, you have a person with their own experiences and perspectives which they use to inspire them. Copilot — or any other AI for that matter — uses algorithms, patterns, and formulas to generate the outcome you request. 

This, as explained, leaves you with a slide deck that may feel like something you’ve seen before. 

 

3. You could become over-reliant 

We know that assimilating AI into our lives is essentially expected at this point, we won’t keep up with our competitors without it. However, it’s important for us to not become over-reliant on the tools — because they are exactly that, tools. Tools are meant to make life easier, but not replace real people with real skills and the capacity to think. 

If you do choose to use Copilot for PowerPoint and walk the design road on your own, remember to exercise discernment and use your personal, real-life insights to decide what to use or keep and what you discard. In other words, don’t keep things just because Copilot has suggested it. 

Critical thinking is key to making these AI tools work effectively for both you and the important stakeholders, investors, or potential clients listening to or reading your slide deck. 

 

4. Your facts and content can’t be verified 

A key factor to keep in mind is that AI can make mistakes and do tasks incorrectly.

From the February 2024 Willy Wonka experience debacle to having bias and failing to incorporate real-world context – it’s clear you’ll still need a second eye on your AI-generated work. 

Even AI checkers are not always accurate

It also cannot fact-check information for you. This can easily lead to errors in your presentation. 

For example, if you’ve plugged the information into the Copilot AI, it makes content suggestions based on that information taking it as fact. However, if a person was working on your presentation (even if they aren’t well-versed in your particular content matter) they may be able to pick up on odd discrepancies, saving you from the embarrassment of presenting incorrect information. 

 

5. Your privacy may be at risk

To be fair to Microsoft’s Copilot — and to avoid fear-mongering — the AI application is compliant with the company’s existing privacy, security, and compliance commitments to commercial customers, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and European Union (EU) Data Boundary.

On their website, they also state that “Prompts, responses, and data accessed through Microsoft Graph aren’t used to train foundation LLMs, including those used by Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.”

Many large organizations make use of Microsoft, meaning there is a general sense of trust for the company, its products, and its security protocols. 

As such, you and your private data and information are most likely safe. 

That being said, cybersecurity should always, at the very least, be represented in your pros and cons list when you decide on your use of Copilot for PowerPoint, or any AI for that matter. 

Taking all of this into account, the decision is yours to make. 

 

Are professional presentation designers a thing of the past? 

There is no doubt about the benefits and uses of AI in general and specifically Copilot for PowerPoint designs. You may be compelled to believe that it’s an easy decision — AI all the way. 

Yet, despite the advantages of the Copilot AI, one must admit that both expertise (gained from actual lived experiences) and a human touch add a layer of appeal, character, and charm that AI cannot. 

Your product, service, or skill will always sound captivating to you, no matter how it’s presented, because you are invested in your work — that’s understandable! However, this excitement and passion are not transferable, to all of our disappointment. 

We need to grip stakeholders, investors, and potential clients in a universally understood and observed language. Of course, that language is Powerful Visuals, which comes with uniqueness and a personal touch that helps us connect to our listeners or readers. 

Businesses and entrepreneurs should remember this before reducing the hours on their presentation designers‘ retainer. 

 

These are the unmissable benefits of continuing to opt for presentation designers instead of tackling PowerPoint designs with Copilot: 

1. Real humanity

The human experience is a tricky concept. Even as humans ourselves, we can fail to grasp it properly. Our feelings, thoughts, interactions, perceptions, and experiences contribute to our interpretations of everything, and they affect the way we make choices  — like making a purchase, for example. 

There is nuance in life and in business relationships and presentation designers can understand that in a way that the Copilot AI cannot. Your slide deck, and your presentation as a whole, will benefit from that understanding. 

Adding humanity helps you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, giving you an upper hand on your competitor who’s opted to use Copilot for their PowerPoint. 

 

2. Unique perspectives

Presentation designers are creatives at heart. They can take your story and develop it into a captivating visual journey that allows your audience to experience your brand. Their novel perspectives help to seamlessly align your audiences with you and your offerings  — making a professional a seemingly obvious choice for your design work.

You won’t receive generic, look-alike PowerPoint slide decks from a presentation designer, but you may get them from Copilot.

  

3. True customization

Indeed, you can use Copilot for PowerPoint and get a customized slide deck. However, the level of customization that comes with a presentation designer is unmatched. 

The problem with AI is that you have to prompt it correctly to get your true desired outcome. And yes, you’ll have to brief a designer — but you can also have conversations with designers, and they can understand you in a different way than AI can. 

In the end, you’ll be left with a final product that is just what you wanted, if not better. 

 

4. Strategic insight 

A skilled designer understands how audiences react to certain visuals, structures, and design flows. They will also have insight into what other organizations are doing, industry best practices, and even differences in preference based on geography or demographics. 

Using this knowledge they can put your slide deck together strategically, ensuring that your presentation truly serves its purpose.

 

5. Creative innovation 

The capacity to create things from scratch is an amazing skill. Presentation designers come with this potential and often can come up with completely new ways to tell your story with new techniques. Your presentation will be more interactive, memorable, and impactful for it. 

 

6. Flexible branding 

Rather than simply using your brand guidelines and corporate identity exactly as it’s presented to them, professional designers find interesting ways to incorporate them into your slides and your story. 

They are not limited by your branding like Copilot AI might be. They can make it their own, while still ensuring consistency. 

Difficult to turn down, right? 

 

Copilot and Presentation Designers for PowerPoint: A dichotomy or two ends of the same process? 

Now, it often feels as though you have a choice to make, a side to pick — the humans or the robots. It’s a difficult decision. Both options come with advantages you don’t want to turn down. No matter how long you spend comparing the two, there will always be a counterargument.

Consider, however, that you may not need to choose. It need not be one or the other. There is a third alternative that will serve you most efficiently. 

Use the two together. 

 

There are two approaches to this:

A. Your inspiration 

Use Copilot to generate an initial idea for your PowerPoint. This can help you to explain what you like and what you don’t with more clarity. It can also give you insight into what to ask a presentation designer for, and what techniques you would like included in your slide deck. 

As you can imagine, this will massively speed up the briefing process and may improve communication and understanding between you and your chosen designer. 

 

B. A designer’s starting point 

To put it simply, a presentation designer could feed your brief to Copilot for PowerPoint and use the result as their starting point and restructure the content onto the slidepoint . This shortens the process as it reduces the basic but often consuming work and allows the designer to implement their expertise on the more important creative aspects of your slide deck. 

Rather than replacing your presentation designer and losing out on their skills, let the technology assist and streamline the process of design. This is what it was meant for. 

 

Presentation designers and Microsoft’s Copilot: Yin and Yang

Think Batman and Robin, Starsky and Hutch, Sherlock and Dr Watson. 

Partners make each other better, complement each other, and positively influence the world when they remain interconnected. This is how we should think about Copilot for PowerPoint and presentation designers. 

Copilot for PowerPoint represents a significant advancement in presentation design technology, offering users unprecedented convenience, efficiency, and accessibility. For businesses and individuals seeking truly impactful presentations that resonate with their audience and reflect their unique brand identity, partnering with a presentation designer remains a must. 

But, by leveraging the strengths of both Copilot and human creativity, organizations can elevate their presentations and take their slide decks to new heights.

 

I'm Marike

I provide professional presentation design services specializing in PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides. 

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I'm Marike

I provide professional presentation design services using PowerPoint,
or Google Slides, your choice! 

In this blog you'll find tips, tutorials and design inspiration to give you the confidence to use presentation tools effectively.


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