Posey's Tips & Tricks

How To Make Copilot Available in the Office Applications

What should be automatic might take a few different steps to (maybe) get working. Why, Microsoft?

This morning, I finally took the plunge and acquired a Copilot license for my Microsoft 365 account. A lot of the articles that I had read pertaining to Microsoft 365 Copilot seemed to suggest that once you link a Copilot license to your Microsoft 365 account, Copilot will just automatically show up in applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However, that did not end up being my experience at all. Not only did Microsoft 365 Copilot not magically appear, I had to jump through a few hoops in order to get it to show up.

I will be completely up front and honest with you and tell you that I'm not sure what it was that I did to cause Copilot to eventually show up. It could have been any one of the steps that I am about to tell you about. My best guess however, is that all of the steps that I performed were probably required.

Step 1: Restart the Office Apps
The first thing that I did in an effort to try to get Copilot to appear was to close all of my Microsoft 365 applications and then reopen them. However, this did not correct the problem, at least not by itself. In retrospect, I could have tried rebooting the system. However, I really didn't want to reboot because I had numerous windows open related to various projects that I am working on, and it would have been a tedious process to put everything back to the way it was prior to the reboot.

Step 2: Check for Office Updates
Normally, the Office applications will tell you when an update is available. As far as I knew, my Office applications were all up to date. Ultimately, there was an update available. It is worth noting however, that it has not been very long since I last updated Office. Microsoft 365 Copilot was officially launched last November and I have undoubtedly installed Office updates since then. As such, even though the Office applications were not entirely up to date, I should have already been running a version of Office that was "Copilot aware."

The easiest way to check for updates to the Office applications is to do so from within the applications themselves (as opposed to using Windows Update). To do so, just open an Office application such as Word, and then click on File, followed by Account. From there, click on Update Options, followed by Update Now.

It is worth noting that when you update the Microsoft Office applications, any open applications will need to close and restart. As such, it is a good idea to save your work prior to performing an update.

Step 3: Update Your License
The third step in the process is to update your license. The reason why I performed this step was because Microsoft 365 Copilot is licensed separately from Microsoft 365. As such, I reasoned that the Office applications might not be aware of the fact that I now have a Copilot license.

Updating the account is a simple process. To do so, open an Office application and then click on File, followed by Account. Now, click on the Update License button. You can see this button in the previous screen capture.

The license update process simply requires you to reenter your Microsoft 365 credentials. Depending on how your system is configured, you may only have to enter your username (without the password).

So Why the Mystery?
In this post, I have outlined three steps for making the Microsoft Office applications reveal Copilot. So with that in mind, you may be wondering why I started out by saying that I'm not sure what I did to fix the problem.

The reason why I said that I'm not sure what I did that caused Copilot to suddenly appear is because none of these three steps fixed the problem, at least not by themselves. After performing all three steps, I restarted the Office applications and Copilot still did not appear. After that, I tried updating the license once again, and again restarted the Office applications. That time, Copilot showed up. There may very well be a bug that requires the license to be updated twice before the Office applications recognize Copilot. It's equally possible that there may have been a lag after I set up my Microsoft 365 Copilot subscription and it just took some time for the Office applications to receive the new license.

About the Author

Brien Posey is a 22-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.


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