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What is a prompt?

An AI image prompt is the text input that you provide to Copilot to generate an image. It can be as simple as a phrase, or as complex as a sentence or paragraph. A prompt with at least six words will yield the best possible results. Your prompt can also include additional information such as stylistic keywords.

How you structure and format your prompt can have a significant impact on the quality and diversity of the images you get.

How to write a prompt

Check out these quick tips and best practices:

Starting a prompt

To generate images, begin your prompt with the right starter words. Otherwise, you might get information, articles, a funny quip, or research you didn’t want. Use starters like these to prompt Designer in Copilot to generate an image rather than a conversation.
Visual of these words: “Create a mysterious over-the-shoulder image of. . .,”    “Draw a detailed sketch of…,” and “Generate an impressionist portrait of…”
Visual of these words: “Create a photo of a cat with a bowtie and a bag from the store”

Descriptive words only!

When it comes to prompt engineering, make every word count. Designer in Copilot does not recognize stop words. These are often common words, like a, for, and from. So, while stop words can help you phrase your prompt, focus on descriptive language. For the best results, use at least six descriptive words that tie directly to the image you want. Here is an example of a prompt with too many and not enough descriptive words:

Add in the ingredients

What goes into a good prompt? While not all ingredients are required, they are helpful when used correctly. The following components of prompt engineering help Copilot to better identify what type of image you want: image type, subject, context, details, lighting, framing, lens and camera, and style.

So here is an example with a type of image, subject, and a variety of detailed descriptors to help Copilot generate an original image:

Visual of these words: “Image type, subject, context, details, lighting, framing, lens and camera, style,” “Create a hyper-real painting of a small terrier sitting by a window staring at a cupcake, natural lighting, medium shot, shallow depth of field, in the style of Georges Seurat,” and a small terrier sitting by a window staring at a cupcake

Be specific

When writing an AI art prompt, be sure to use precise language and a minimum of six keywords to describe the results you want. Avoid vague or ambiguous terms that could lead to multiple interpretations. For example, you could simply ask Copilot to make an image of a “dog on a spaceship.” However, if you want something more detailed, try this:

Don’t forget to use as many ingredients as you can to get a better result. Be sure to provide:

  • A clear action (make, create, paint, illustrate, draw, generate)
  • A detailed subject
  • A specific style
  • A scene or setting
  • A list of additional elements
Visual of these words: “Make an image of a retriever flying on a rocket to the moon. The spaceship has a NASA label and is made out of cardboard. 3D render, high quality, 3D shading
Visual of these words: “Make an illustrated image of a flower delivery man on a bicycle from the 1800s. He is running late. Crying like a baby. In the style of early Japanese cartoons,” and an illustration of a flower delivery man crying on a bicycle

Be creative

Use your imagination and experiment with different combinations and variations of at least six words. You can use metaphors, analogies, humor, and more to generate new, more interesting images. For example, you could just ask Copilot for “a flower delivery man,” but why stop there? Get more creative and playful with details, like this:

Simple Starters

    • Create an image of…
    • Generate a vast landscape of…
    • Create a lifelike portrait of…
    • Generate a comic book scene with…
    • Draw an abstract piece of art of…
    • Generate an artwork of…
    • Illustrate a (subject or scene) with…
    • Envision a futuristic design of…
    • Craft a vibrant panorama where…
    • Create a painting of…
    • Create an imaginative scene of…
    • Conceptualize a cutting-edge design of…
    • Generate an eco-conscious image of…
    • Show me an up-close image of…

Bring your visions to life with AI

With practice and imagination, you can use prompt engineering to generate stunning images and art that tell unique stories. Let your imagination run wild and make any art you can imagine with Designer in Copilot.
Images created using Designer in Copilot.