Previously on waiting list, Microsoft’s Sway is now generally available to the public. The online presentation app allows users to combine text and graphics effortlessly to create beautiful presentations and microsites. The app is part of Microsoft’s Office family, and works on the Web as well as both Android and iOS on the go.
To create a presentation, simply add text and graphics to your Sway. The built-in design engine takes over from there, pulling from pictures to create complementary text colors, sizing elements as it sees fit, and providing an instant preview of what the canvas will look like to other people. The created presentation is a single, scrollable document, as opposed to the individual slides created in PowerPoint. Users can highlight a photo in order to place it more prominently, or edit other elements by tapping or dragging. Once complete, sways are hosted on Azure cloud servers and can be shared via email, Messages, or on social networks.
It is important to note that Sway is not meant as a replacement for PowerPoint. Sway takes over design decisions and can be easily embedded in existing sites. PowerPoint, one the other hand, is far more robust, offering users full design discretion, the ability to maintain corporate brand guidelines, and supports desktop creation/editing via native desktop applications. PowerPoint users can also create content such as diagrams and graphs, whereas Sway can only incorporate pre-created content.
Despite it’s simplicity, Sway has some neat features available such as photo stacking and a vertical scrolling layout. It is perfect for creating relatively simple digital reports and presentations, especially those that require continual updating or are being generated by those lacking extensive design capabilities. You can check out some sample sways on the site.
Is Sway right for you? Give it a whirl! The app is free, and Microsoft is encouraging “test drives” right now. They are also actively seeking feedback from users in order to shape the final application, which is now considered a “work in progress.”
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