Sway Updates Deliver OneDrive for Business Integration

Authors can now grab content from their OneDrive for Business repositories while iPhone users create Sways faster, and with fewer hiccups.

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Microsoft Sway

Sway users can now access content from the company's enterprise cloud file service, Microsoft announced on Oct. 8.

Sway is a free cloud-based presentation tool for creating interactive, mobile-enabled presentations—called "Sways"—with drag-and-drop ease. Users assemble embeddable images, videos and text from multiple sources, including Bing Image Search, YouTube and Twitter, and the app automatically arranges the content into professional-grade layouts that render appropriately across a wide variety of screen sizes, from smartphones to full desktop browsers.

Now users with Office 365 accounts provided by their organizations have another option: OneDrive for Business.

"Now when you sign in to Sway.com or Sway for Windows with Office 365 work and school accounts, you can access your OneDrive for Business account from the Insert tab," said the Sway Team in a company blog post. "Drag and drop to add your images right into your Sways, or import PDF, Word and PowerPoint files to reuse their content in combination with additional multimedia in Sway." Microsoft is working on adding support for video files stored on the cloud storage service, they added.

Microsoft also made a number of improvements to the iOS version of the Sway app for Apple iPhones and iPads.

Previewing a Sway takes less time after installing the updated app. "It's faster to switch between Edit and Preview, as well as refresh Preview. This makes it easy to see the polished and cohesive design continuously taking shape as you add and modify your content," wrote the Sway group.

Users have more content grouping options (Comparison, Slideshow and Grid) for organizing their multimedia. Another option enables users to also structure their Sways in a format that is tailored for delivering presentations. Finally, Microsoft resolved an issue that caused the app to crash when users added too many images to their Sways at once.

The updates follow Sway's official launch this summer after a 10-month beta. Microsoft also used the occasion to release a native app for Windows 10.

"Sway for Windows combines the full richness of Sway on the Web with additional capabilities on your PC or tablet," stated the company in an Aug.5 announcement. "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."

Although PowerPoint remains Microsoft's flagship presentation technology, the company has been exploring ways of creating more engaging presentations.

Last year, the company unveiled Office Mix, a free add-on that helps convert PowerPoint files into sharable, interactive presentations. Microsoft is particularly focused on popularizing the technology in schools.

Educators can create quizzes and guided lessons using the software.

In December, Microsoft partnered with EdX, an online learning non-profit backed by Harvard and MIT, to help educators easily publish lessons on edX.org. The following month, the company announced it was partnering with Moodle, an open-source learning management platform, to integrate Office Mix.

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 Internet.com network of...