Introducing Sway from Microsoft

In its first Office app addition in 10 years, Microsoft announced last October a new application called Sway. This application is intended to re-imagine how you can present information for others to digest using new tools that make the presentation in an “always finished” state. Intended also to target the younger generation of mobile and cell phone users, it does away with some of the more heavy duty features of PowerPoint. This application is intended to be professional looking while using more lightweight devices such as your phone or mobile device to assemble your presentation. As a matter of fact, one of Sway’s promises is to display your presentation on any platform in the best possible rendition.

 

Sway debuted at the beginning of October in preview mode, as the latest free Office app. Think of it as a simple, yet attractive, content creator for documents that can be shared online.  As Web and magazine layouts collide, smoosh, and blur together, there’s a new emphasis on imagery and multimedia, both to anchor and supplement text. Sway recognizes this, and makes it easy to start building layouts that look professional.

 

Sway is now available on Office 365. The cell phone app is available for iPhone but not for Android. Some of the features still show as “available soon”. Using the app in a browser on my Windows 8.1 machine I was able to quickly piece together a presentation using a combination of pictures and text that I gathered from multiple sources.

 

Start by creating a new Sway.

Microsoft, Sway, Windows 10, presentation, technology

Your next step is to organize your data.

Microsoft, Sway, Windows 10, presentation, technology

It helps to have pictures, videos or text available, but Sway is very good at helping you locate information on the fly.

Microsoft, Sway, Windows 10, presentation, technology

Each new slide (to use a PowerPoint term) is considered a “card” in the Sway “deck”. These cards, once populated, can be re-assembled into different combinations easily by simply dragging and dropping into a new location. In the meantime, creating a new card is a matter of identifying what kind of card you want to insert (Text, Image, Video) and then placing data on to that card. The information you want on the card can come from a multitude of sources, including your OneDrive, YouTube, Twitter and much more.

Microsoft, Sway, Windows 10, presentation, technology

You can easily embed Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or PDF documents in your Sway. Start by selecting a document from your OneDrive account or uploading a local document, and then choose whether you want to import the content into Sway (Import option) or to embed the content so it can be previewed in its original form (Embed option).

Additionally, you can manually embed a variety of Web content from other sources in your Sway — including videos, images, audio clips, maps, and charts.

In Sway, do the following:

  1. Click the <+> icon to add a new Card, and then click Embed.
  2. Click to select the Embed Web Card that is added to your Storyline, and then type or paste the embed code of the content you want to add.
    Note If you paste a URL (Web address) as your embed code, it must contain the secure prefix https:// instead of http:// or the content will not be embedded.

Sway currently supports embedding content from the following sites:

  • Channel 9
  • com
  • Flickr
  • GeoGebra
  • Giphy
  • Google Maps
  • Infogram
  • Mixcloud
  • Office Mix
  • OneDrive (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents)
  • Sketchfab
  • SoundCloud
  • Sway
  • Vimeo
  • Vine
  • YouTube

Organizing your cards comes next. Sections define sets of cards that generally have a title card and how those cards may appear. For instance, cards can be stacked, grouped or combined in different ways to manage their appearance in your final presentation. The best way to learn these is to experiment. I use these sections as a way to provide an outline for my presentation.

Sways can be shared with others so that you can collaborate easily to create a presentation.

Microsoft, Sway, Windows 10, presentation, technology

For now, go to sway.com to get your peak at this new application and start examining how you and your business can take advantage. Sway can also be reached via the “application” icon in the top left of your Office 365 portal.

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