Microsoft Brings Co-authoring Feature to Office Sway

In a bid to spur collaboration, Microsoft brings one of its signature Office Web Apps features to its Sway presentation software, one Sway users have been clamoring for.

Office Sway

Microsoft is making it easier for Office Sway users to collaborate on their creations.

Office Sway is a cloud-enabled application that can be used to build, publish and share mobile- and browser-friendly, interactive presentations. In January, Microsoft released Office Sway for iPhone in the United States and other English-speaking countries after first testing the app in New Zealand and Australia.

Despite the many tweaks and integrations Microsoft issued since Sway was first announced in October, users were clamoring for a major collaboration feature that is currently available in the Office Web Apps. In an April 2 Office Blogs post, the Sway team noted that users had been requesting "shared editing in Sway in our feedback channels (such as UserVoice), and that Office has delivered real-time editing and collaboration features for years, allowing people to work together to share their collective ideas."

Those pleas are being answered. Microsoft is now rolling out an update that enables co-authoring in Sway, the company announced.

"Simply share an edit link with anyone you'd like to work with," wrote the team. "When your family, friends, classmates or colleagues click the link and log in, your Sway will show up on their 'My Sways' page, too (with an icon indicating it's a shared Sway to help you all stay organized). They can edit the Sway just as you can—and at the same exact time as well."

Since 2013, Microsoft has been steadily beefing up the collaboration features in its Office Web App portfolio. What began as real-time co-authoring support in the Web version of PowerPoint later spread to Word and Excel. Even offline changes made using Office software clients are automatically synced when users hop back online.

Tapping on the Share command now displays a new "add an author" icon that can be used to generate a edit link. Users are then given the option to copy the URL to the clipboard for pasting into an email, instant message or social media update.

To prevent collaborative Sways from becoming unproductive free-for-alls, the Sway update also includes permission tracking and management features.

"On your My Sways page, tap or click the shared Sway icon for any Sway to see who has access to edit it," instructed the Sway team. "You can also now tap or click the My Sways drop-down next to filter your view of your My Sways page to show just your own Sways, Sways that have been shared with you, or both combined."

Users can also revoke editing permissions, but only if they are the original owners. In addition, Microsoft is making it possible to copy Sways, allowing users to preserve an original Sway before opening it up to collaborative edits.

"Making a copy is also the easiest way to make your second and third Sways once you have one you like," said the Office Sway staffers. "It's also a great way to have a template Sway for future Sways you might want to create."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...