How to Create Your Own Microsoft Copilot [5-Step Framework]

May 10, 2024

Read time: 4 mins

If you're curious to learn how to build custom Copilots using Microsoft Copilot Studio, read on.

Microsoft Copilot can be confusing.

There’s a free version you can use on

This is their general chat bot that can be used for a range of activities, just like ChatGPT.

You can use it to search the web, and it’ll also recognised images and documents.

But there are LOADS of other Copilots as well.

Let’s stat by demystifying some of them.


  • Microsoft Copilot - Born out of Bing Chat, this bit is accessible to anyone for free if you have a Microsoft personal or business account (and even if you don’t). It is the closest Microsoft have to ChatGPT Pro and is optimised for general assistance and web search.
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365 - This requires a paid license and enables Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams and Outlook. You can see me demo it here.
  • Copilot for Finance - Can be used for free alongside Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems, or as a standalone tool in Excel to perform reconciliations & analysis. You can see me demo it here.
  • Copilot for Power Automate - A bot that helps you create Power Automate flow using natural language.
  • Copilot for Security - For teams using Microsoft Security tools
  • Copilot for Sales - For sales teams using Dynamics for Sales
  • Copilot go GitHub - For developers

The list goes on…

But what if you wanted to create your own Copilot?

This is where Microsoft Copilot Studio comes in…

The Framework

1. Licensing

To create your own Copilots you need either:

  • A Copilot Studio license (you can sign up for a free trial)
  • A license for Copilot for Microsoft 365 (the same version that gives you Copilot in Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote & Teams)

If you’re using a personal or family version of Microsoft 365, you can buy a Copilot Pro license, but this won’t give you access to Copilot studio. Although you can build ‘GPT’s in the same way as you can with ChatGPT Pro.

2. Deployment

If you have a Copilot Studio license, you can deploy a bot anywhere from a standalone web page, to your website, to Slack, Teams etc. You can also deploy a Copilot as an extension to Copilot for Microsoft 365 (M365).

If you have a Copilot for M365 license, right now, you can only deploy within M365 Copilot within Teams (but I’m sure this will be extended soon)

Where you decide to deploy your bot depends on your use case, and whether it’s to be used internally (e.g as an assistant for you and your team) or externally (e.g as a customer support bot).

3. AI

Copilot Studio used to be called Power Virtual Agents before being renamed.

Before Generative AI, you could build a bot, but this was a long process that required experience.

Now within Copilot Studio, you have Generative AI that you can use within an AI Plugin (AI prompt) or as a conversational plugin that you can connect to other data sources.

4. Data

If you’re using a standalone Copilot, or a conversational plugin, you can upload files than contain your own finance data, or finance team policies that can be referenced when the bot is creating a response. You can also link the bot to internal Sharepoint / OneDrive files, or to external websites.

Decide what data you want to use, and make sure it’s clearly formatted and annotated so that the bot knows what it’s looking at.

5. Base Prompt

When using any of the AI facility when creating a copilot, you need to ensure you’re providing clear instructions (base prompts) that the AI will use when generating it’s responses.

  • Define clear objectives
  • Use Natural Language
  • Provide Examples
  • Set boundaries for what you DON’T want it to do

Putting it into practise

  1. Sign up to a trial of Copilot Studio by following the instructions here.
  2. Read up on best practises for creating prompts here.
  3. Read up on creating AI plugins here.
  4. Read up on creating conversational plugins here.
  5. Sign up for the AI in Finance Club here
    1. You’ll receive the full detailed article coming out this Sunday, written by me, that also includes video walkthroughs.
    2. You’ll also get access to a community of finance pros receiving group coaching & workshops, monthly articles that nobody else sees, as well as exclusive access to a community-only Slack channel.

You’ll be a custom Copilot pro in no time.

Until next time.


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