Sway, Microsoft's Web-based interactive presentation software, is now generally available to Office 365 business and education customers worldwide.
The Web-based presentation-building software allows users, even those lacking in design skills, to create, publish and share "Sways" with professional layouts. Aided by Microsoft's machine-learning technology and a touch-friendly toolset, Sway automatically assembles text, images and videos into polished presentations that render equally as well on smartphones as on the relatively expansive on-screen real estate of PC browsers. Users can include content from a variety of online sources, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft's OneDrive cloud file storage service.
In May, the company began rolling out Sway to customers belonging to the First Release early-access program. Now, after a 10-month preview period, Microsoft is available to most Office 365 business customers. Sway will be available on the company's Government Community Cloud (GCC) at a later date, Microsoft said.
"This makes it possible for many additional businesses, schools and other organizations to start using Sway to create and share interactive reports, presentations, assignments, lessons, projects and more," wrote the Microsoft Sway Team in an Aug. 5 announcement. "And of course, any consumer can use Sway with a free Microsoft account."
Along with Sway's expanded availability, Microsoft announced the release of a native app for its just-released operating system, Windows 10.
"Sway for Windows combines the full richness of Sway on the web with additional capabilities on your PC or tablet," said the Microsoft staffers. This means you can use all of Sway's integrated content sources along with the power of the built-in design engine to build, edit and share your Sways, whether you're on the go with your Windows tablet or working at your desk with a PC or laptop."
The app allows for offline storage of Sways, enabling users to present in places with spotty or non-existent Internet connectivity. "Sway for Windows also allows you to stay logged in with multiple accounts at once if you use the same device for both work and home."
Sway for Windows 10 PCs and tablets is available in the Windows Store app marketplace. A version for Windows smartphones is in the works, the company said.
Along with the new app, Microsoft released new authoring capabilities that enable users to further customize their Sway presentations. These include a new layout for displaying groupings of content on a single screen. "Whether it's a few words with a knockout background image, a set of images and supporting bullet points, or a cluster of interactive elements, now you can deliver a killer presentation in-person or for viewing across many devices," stated Microsoft.
Finally, Sway now supports Docs.com, Microsoft's online Office documents publishing platform. Users can now publish directly to the site using the Share button.
"Docs.com lets you organize your Sways and other Office content into collections," explained the Sway group. "On Docs.com, Sways, documents, collections or profiles can be discovered by search engines, browsed on Docs.com, and shared in social media or on the web."