Office 365 Spotlight: Sway

This week our Office 365 Spotlight series is focusing on Sway (find the first post of the series here). Sway is another Office 365 program that has spent some time in preview after being introduced late in 2014. So what is Sway?

Sway builds narrative presentations that use customization tools to bring out the most in your content. Basically, Sway is the cooler cousin of PowerPoint.

But is Sway built for business? That's a fair question. In a recent blog post, Microsoft shows off a few ways Sway is being used by businesses. Sway can impress potential clients with product or services presentations, design interactive digital brochures, visually recap project results, and actually much more. 

Check out this introduction video of Sway from Microsoft.

This is the Sway home screen. You can see all Sway presentations that you have created here. Just like all Office 365 programs, Sway saves to the cloud so your presentations are wherever you are. You can also share your presentation with others to get feedback and edits. From here, you can create a completely new presentation or import from Word, PowerPoint, or PDF to get started. For this blog, I will be showing off a sample presentation about climbing Mt. Rainier.

When you create a new presentation or edit an existing presentation, you will find yourself on the screen above. I know there is a lot to look at, but the UI is very user friendly. All content is represented on cards. Notice the “Title” card that tells us that this presentation is about Climbing Mt. Rainier. The left sidebar gives you access to every type of card you can create. From there, you can add, remove, or re position any card you create.

Much like PowerPoint, Sway offers a preview version of the presentation you are building. On the picture above you can see an arrow in the top right corner. Click that arrow to see the preview of everything you have created so far. Check out that view from Mt. Rainier!

One of the coolest features of Sway is its ability to find media for your presentation directly within the program. Say we want to find a cool overview picture of Mt. Rainier for our presentation to show just how massive it is. Clicking the Insert tab at the top opens this sidebar where you can search the web for pictures of Mt. Rainier. You can also add media from other sources including YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, and others.  

Another great feature of Sway is its navigation settings. Say you don’t like how the content cards are aligned as you move through the presentation. Sway gives you the options to change up how the presentation flows. You can have vertical navigation, a fluid left to right navigation that makes the cards feel more connected to each other, and a more traditional navigation that keeps all individual sections on their own slide. These options help you find the best way to present your content.

The best way to learn about Sway is to try it out yourself. If you already have an Office 365 account, you can head directly to sway.com. Don’t have an Office 365 account? Contact us and we can get you set up.