How Microsoft Sway Provides Simpler Tools for Building Presentations

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-08-06
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Microsoft Sway Provides Simpler Tools for Building Presentations
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    How Microsoft Sway Provides Simpler Tools for Building Presentations

    The Microsoft Sway cloud-based presentation development tool could prove to be a suitable option for consumers and enterprise users alike.
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    It's All About Windows 10
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    It's All About Windows 10

    The timing on Sway's general availability launch is no surprise. The app came out just a week after Windows 10 officially became available and includes full support for Microsoft's latest OS. The launch suggests that Microsoft sees value in paring Sway with Windows 10 and has said that the compatibility with the company's operating system delivers enhanced features to Sway. In other words, Windows 10—and its compatibility with cloud services—has become a major concern for Microsoft.
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    Microsoft Is Making It Easy to Access Sway
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    Microsoft Is Making It Easy to Access Sway

    One of the nice things about Sway is that it's easy to find. The service works in Web browsers as long as a person has a Microsoft login. In addition, users will find Sway as a downloadable app on the iPhone and iPad as well as on Windows 10. There's no word on whether Sway will come to Android or Chrome.
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    Yes, There's a PowerPoint Connection
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    Yes, There's a PowerPoint Connection

    The major claim many folks are making is that Sway could cannibalize PowerPoint. After all, they argue, the app is designed to help users quickly create presentations of all types without learning to use all the features built into PowerPoint. While that's true to an extent, Microsoft is trying to reach a new class of users without design skills and little or no experience creating presentations. PowerPoint will still be there for those who need to take advantage of its advanced features.
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    Sway Provides a Way to Quickly Produce Reports
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    Sway Provides a Way to Quickly Produce Reports

    A key feature in Sway is its ability to help users quickly create reports. Within minutes, users can input images and text and have a full report ready to go for the classroom or the office. Those reports can then be shared online with others or be made available offline. It's a great way to quickly create reports on any topic.
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    Automatic Search Offers Relevant Content
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    Automatic Search Offers Relevant Content

    To speed things up, Microsoft's Sway anticipates what a user may need based on the content of the document the user is creating. The app automatically analyzes content and provides relevant images, videos, tweets and other Web content to bundle with the creation. Bing Image search integrated with Sway. Relevant Search takes steps out of the presentation-making process and generally makes finding extra content easier.
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    Microsoft Bundles Sway With Office
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    Microsoft Bundles Sway With Office

    So, where can one find Sway? In addition to downloading it as an individual app on platforms, Microsoft has also bundled the software with Office 365. So, education and business customers will find that Sway is already listed in their apps and they can immediately try it out. Sway is yet another addition to the growing number of Office apps that include Skype, Word, PowerPoint and others.
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    It's All About Speed
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    It's All About Speed

    Some may wonder why they should choose Sway over another platform. The answer is simple: speed. Microsoft claims that a person can create a presentation or report in a matter of minutes with Sway, thanks to its use of drag-and-drop templates, relevant search queries and integration with Office. Sway is ideal for those who want a simple, speedy presentation ready to go for an upcoming meeting.
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    There's Full Offline Support for This Connected Platform
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    There's Full Offline Support for This Connected Platform

    While Sway relies on the Web to add images, videos and other content, it has full support for offline viewing. So, as long as a person isn't linking out to a video that would need to be played or incorporating other Web-based content, Sway will work offline just as well as it does online. Since Sway is so connected to the Internet, some had worried that it wouldn't come with offline support. Microsoft has addressed that with its latest update.
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    Sway Fully Integrated With Docs.com
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    Sway Fully Integrated With Docs.com

    One of the easier ways to share Sway creations with others is through Microsoft's revamped Docs.com. The service is essentially a cloud-based repository for Office Online creations, and is also the go-to place for people to store Sways and share them with others. With Sway's help, Docs.com is finally becoming more relevant.
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    Expect Rapid-Fire Updates
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    Expect Rapid-Fire Updates

    Microsoft made clear in its blog post announcing Sway's general release that it will update the platform on a consistent basis in the coming weeks. In fact, Microsoft has asked the community to chime in on what it does and does not like so that it can incorporate the kind of features and improvements they would find most useful.
 

Microsoft Sway, a new cloud-based presentation development tool, has moved from the preview phase into general availability, which means it's now available on the Windows Store and to Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft describes Sway as a "digital storytelling app" that provides simple tools for building presentations that combine text, images, graphics and video. Sway isn't designed as a replacement for the full-featured PowerPoint presentation application that has been part of the Office productivity suite for decades. But it is supposed to make it easier for small-business people, students, teachers and consumers to build basic presentations that get a point across. Sway also lets users build applications that can automatically scale to run on smartphones, tablets and larger PC displays. Sway is also part of Microsoft's vision to offer applications at no charge in hopes that users will be more inclined to pay for cloud-based services, such as Office 365 and OneDrive. Read on to learn more about Microsoft Sway and why it could prove to be a suitable option for consumers and enterprise users alike.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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