Microsoft aims to integrate OpenAI technology across its product line, but one entrepreneur has already included ChatGPT into Microsoft Word and is eyeing other Microsoft Office products.

Ghostwriter, a new third-party add-on for Microsoft Word, enables users to query OpenAI’s ChatGPT in a Word sidebar and view content generated by the natural language chatbot unfold directly in the document they are composing.

Patrick Husting, a business leader, serial entrepreneur, and software developer from the Seattle region who worked in Microsoft’s consulting company in the late 1990s, is the creator of Ghostwriter. Last fall, when he was using ChatGPT for writing assistance and grew weary of cutting and pasting and switching windows, he came up with the concept.

After getting Microsoft’s approval, Ghostwriter is now available in the Office Add-in shop. Basic edition ($10 one-time charge) uses ChatGPT and restricts responses to around two paragraphs; Pro edition ($25 one-time price) offers all available OpenAI language models and a length-adjustable response.

To access the OpenAI service, users must also have a free OpenAI account and an API key.

Husting told GeekWire earlier this week that he was uncertain whether Microsoft would authorise Ghostwriter for the Office Add-in store, considering the potential conflict with Microsoft’s own intentions. However, the approval was granted without a hitch.

“They may discontinue it in two years, when they add anything to Office, and I’m fine with that,” he remarked. “What I’m doing is now available for anyone to use and benefit from, so why wouldn’t you?”

In addition, Husting is currently developing ChatGPT add-ins for Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. His one-person software development company, Creative Data Studios, produces software.

Previously, he developed and led the business-intelligence consultancy firm Extended Results, which Tibco Software bought in 2013. In addition, he currently developed and manages The Equestrian app for horse owners and companies, which has over 35,000 members representing over 45,000 horses globally.

In recent weeks, Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI has been the subject of intense speculation in the tech industry, fueled by the buzz surrounding ChatGPT, the Redmond company’s additional investment in OpenAI, and the related partnership that grants Microsoft the right to commercialise OpenAI’s technologies.

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that all Microsoft products will someday incorporate artificial intelligence. Microsoft is preparing to integrate GPT-4, the next generation of OpenAI’s natural language processing technology, into its Bing search engine, possibly challenging Google’s search dominance, according to a report published by Semafor on Tuesday.

Microsoft recently announced that it will soon offer ChatGPT as part of its Azure OpenAI Service. Existing Microsoft product integrations of OpenAI technology include GitHub Copilot, which provides software engineers with a virtual AI pair programmer to suggest code and functions while they create programmes.

Husting acknowledges that Microsoft’s future integrations of OpenAI technologies into Microsoft Office will be more complex and native to Word and other Office applications when they are released.

However, Ghostwriter fixes a fundamental issue in the interim.

“Whatever they do will be beautiful, great, and so well-integrated with the Office experience when you purchase or subscribe to Office 2025, or whatever edition,” he remarked.

He projected, though, that Microsoft’s integrations will likely necessitate an upgrade to the most recent Office version. Ghostwriter is compatible with Word for Office 2019 and newer software versions.

Husting intended to make Ghostwriter available for the 2013 and 2016 editions of Office, but he learned in the last stages of development that the add-in was incompatible with the JavaScript framework often used for Office add-ins due to a need on Internet Explorer 11.

Since November, he has been working on Ghostwriter utilising the Office JavaScript Framework. Yes, he used ChatGPT once when building the add-in in order to better comprehend how to use the OpenAI “temperature” option.

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