Copilot 365 in Teams Meetings – To Transcribe or Not?

In my opinion, one of the clear best features of Microsoft Copilot 365 is the integration with Microsoft Teams Meetings. The ability to ask for meeting notes, unanswered questions, and more is fantastic. But it needs to be (minimally) configured, so this is what you need to check.

Some of these settings are per user, and some are admin controlled. The admin controlled settings can override the end user settings.

The admin settings for Copilot in a Teams Meeting are found in the Meetings Policy. There is more than one policy, so you need to modify the policy that impacts your users. By default everyone is on the Global policy, but that may not be the case in your tenant.

At the bottom of the Recording and Transcription section of the Meeting Policy that you are changing there is a Copilot entry with two options:

Recording & Transcription options in Teams

The two options are “On with transcript” or “On”. These allow for “persistent” or “non-persistent” transcripts.

If you select the first (the default value) then a meeting can have Copilot started and with that a transcription will start. The transcription will remain as part of the meeting beyond the end of the meeting until the meeting organizer deletes the meeting. The transcription is also stored in the organizers Exchange Online mailbox (or online mailbox shard if using Exchange Server). The transcription can be shared with meeting attendees, though internal attendees can access it without it being shared directly to them – external attendees do not have access to the transcript.

With Copilot enabled and running in the meeting, the transcript is used as the source for the AI’s “understanding” of what the meeting content is about. After the meeting, as the transcript remains, Copilot can be used to still ask questions about the meeting.

If Copilot is not started in the meeting then there is nothing to ground the AI into, and so it is not possible to ask questions from Copilot about the meeting. If a recording and or transcript is turned on, even by another internal user in the meeting, then Copilot will have something to work against and so it is not always the case that Copilot needs to be enabled in the meeting for it to work – but it is always the case that the meeting needs to be transcribed before Copilot can work. This is either a standard transcription or video recording in the meeting or by turning on Copilot and having it enable the transcription (or just the temporary transcription as discussed in this blog post).

As mentioned above, for the transcript to exist and Copilot to reason over it, Copilot needs to be started ideally as the meeting starts, but this is not automatic. If Copilot is not started, the transcript is not started, and later on if Copilot is started, the earlier content is not available for “meeting notes”, “unanswered questions” and other prompts to Copilot that might be made.

Starting Copilot when “On with transcript” is enabled looks like this:

Clicking the Copilot button in Teams asks to start Transcription
The language of the users is requested

Then once the transcript starts, you are prompted to let everyone know it is running:

Transcription has started

You can now (or at least after 5 minutes of transcription has passed) ask Copilot questions about the meeting.

The other admin option for everyone under a given Meeting Policy is the Copilot option of “On”. This does not enable a transcription, or at least one that you can access. A transcription is enabled in the background, but it is discarded once the meeting is ended. Therefore, any questions to ask of Copilot 365 requires them to be done during the meeting and before the organizer ends the meeting for all.

When this option is set by your administrator, you cannot create a transcript for Teams for Copilot. You can enable Copilot, ask all the questions etc., but only during the meeting and there is no transcription to share externally after the meeting. Indeed, there is nothing to share or archive and therefore nothing to perform compliance searches etc. against either.

When the “On” option is enabled, there is no prompt about transcription in the Teams Meeting, but instead a message at the top of the Copilot pane in Teams that Copilot can only work during the meeting:

Copilot is not available after the meeting

If you are the meeting organizer, don’t end the meeting for all attendees until you have collected the meeting information that you need from Microsoft Copilot 365.

Finally, if you are the meeting organizer and “On with transcript” is the policy setting in Teams Admin Center, you can turn transcript for Copilot off per meeting. This is done in the Meeting Options which are available only if you are the organizer, and needs to be done before you join the meeting (if you join and change this setting, you need to leave and join again for it to take effect).

Meeting Options under … (More) > Settings
Changing the meeting to “Without transcription”
Meeting Options in Outlook

If the administrator has set the Copilot option to “On” (note there is no “Off”, just don’t assign licences to turn it off!) then the meeting organizer cannot enable “With transcription” on a per meeting basis as the administrator policy cannot be overridden.

Photo by Tara Winstead:



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