Getting started with Copilot (web version)

Curious about getting started with the web version of Copilot (formerly known as Bing Chat)? 

We’ve got some tips below, but before you wade in, don’t forget that there’s guidance on the use of Generative AI at Leeds on our dedicated website, and we’ve also got a short article that introduces you to the web version of Microsoft Copilot. Both of these are great places to start learning about it. 

Ready? Let’s go.  

Image depicting a 'connected world', consisting of a globe and mobile app-style icons. Created with Copilot.

Work out what it can do 

  • Copilot can be a powerful tool, so getting to grips with some of its nuances is a good idea.  
  • A good way of familiarising yourself with what the web version of Copilot can do is to just log in with your University details and start asking it questions. Even asking it how it can help can give you some suggestions to try, just above the text box. 

A screengrab of various suggested prompts, as shown on the Copilot page.

Learn how to write good prompts 

  • Crafting clear and specific prompts is essential. Consider using the following elements to help you guide Copilot’s responses: 
    • Persona: Specify who you are (e.g., developer, writer, student). 
    • Objective: Clearly state what you want to achieve (e.g., write a Python function, draft an email). 
    • Audience: Mention the context or audience (e.g., technical, casual). 
    • Limits and parameters: Provide any relevant constraints or requirements (e.g., limit the response length). 
    • Context: Include relevant information about the task or problem. 
  • When interacting with Copilot, start with the end in mind and be sure to specify the output you want — whether it’s bullet points, text, or code. 
  • It can’t hurt to be polite. Copilot is an AI, but courteous communication often seems to lead to better results. 

Iterate and refine 

  • Asking a question isn’t a one-and-done thing. Feel free to experiment, ask follow-up questions and adjust things as you need to. 
  • If it’s not quite giving you what you anticipated, try asking it to edit what it presented, or use a different persona or write with a different audience in mind. 
  • Curiosity helps too: Ask further questions, explore a topic, and get Copilot to elaborate on what it responds with. 

Experiment with conversation styles 

  • You can opt to have Copilot respond to you in a more creative, balanced or precise way using the toggles above the text box. 
  • It’s worth experimenting with them to see the different impacts they can have. Perhaps even try the same prompts, just to see the variations you can get. 
  • You may also find that you personally prefer the kind of response one of the styles give you over the others.  

A screengrab of the conversation styles box on the Copilot page, showing creative, balanced and precise options.

Get creative and prompt Copilot for Images 

  • The web version of Copilot combines ChatGPT with a powerful image creation tool, so it’s worth seeing what you can make with it. It can even take inspiration from famous artists’ styles or periods, if you want it to.   
  • As an example, the image at the very top of this article was created by getting Copilot to generate an image of a ‘connected world’, then refining it to include more icons that looked like app shortcuts.
  • Explore image variations: Copilot will generate four images, each with a slightly different take on your main idea. You can click on them to view in more detail, and save etc. 

Once you’ve started to get to grips with it, you’ll soon start to get a sense of how easy it can be to use. For example, this article was written by asking Copilot for its top tips for getting started. This was then followed up and iterated on by clarifying that it shouldn’t cover anything too technical, and asking what advice it had for getting started with image generation.  

Then a human being (honest!) went through the various points, picked out the useful ones, discarded what was not as relevant as perhaps it could be, edited it and wrote up the intro and this closing section. And published it on this website.  

For more guidance, policies and information about using Generative AI for staff and students at the University of Leeds, please visit the Generative AI website.