In late 2014, Microsoft unveiled a simple, easy-to-use web application for creating presentations. The application, which is called Microsoft Sway, was released to the general public in December 2014, though a preview version of the application debuted in October.
Some experts view Microsoft Sway as the company's answer to Prezi, a presentation-creation tool that has become fairly popular in the last few years. Regardless of its motivations, Microsoft has released a quality product for people looking to create stunning presentations.
Like Prezi, Microsoft Sway uses an open-canvas model for presenting information. This stands in stark contrast to Microsoft PowerPoint, which relies on relatively one-dimensional slides. By using a completely different way to present information, Microsoft Sway lets people create presentations that are much more visually compelling than those made in Microsoft PowerPoint.
The Benefits of Using a Web Application
Since Microsoft Sway is a web application, you don't need to download any software in order to use it. Instead, you can access it directly from your web browser, just like any other Microsoft Office 365 application. Microsoft has noted that you don't need a Microsoft Office 365 subscription to use Sway.
This versatility means that you can work with your presentations on any computer you want, as long as it is connected to the web. Microsoft Sway is designed to work well on tablets and smartphones, so you can edit and display your presentations on your mobile devices as well.
Additionally, Microsoft Sway users can easily share their presentations online, while still maintaining control over who has viewing and editing privileges. This lets different users collaborate on the same presentation.
How Microsoft Sway Works
Microsoft Sway uses sections to divide up a presentation. Each section can include text, pictures, videos, tweets, and other pieces of content. The application features a selection of interactive charts for displaying data, and includes a built-in tool for searching through services like OneDrive, Facebook, Flickr, Bing, Twitter, and YouTube. After finding the piece of content that you are looking for, just drag-and-drop it straight into your presentation. You can also upload content from your computer's hard drive.
The application has several layouts, backgrounds, fonts, and styles to choose from. After making a selection, the application will automatically format the presentation for you. There is also a Remix feature that randomly selects a layout, background, font, and style. You can alter this random selection if you like part of it, or simply have Microsoft Sway remix the presentation again.
Presentations are viewed by scrolling vertically or horizontally, or by clicking through the presentation's sections. These viewing methods and content-display options give Microsoft Sway a dynamic, free-flowing quality.
Microsoft is continuing to add more features and style choices to Microsoft Sway. However, even without these additions, the application is already an easy-to-use tool with a lot of options. If you're looking to create high-quality multimedia presentations, then you should strongly consider giving Microsoft Sway a try.