Microsoft Sway Preview Is Now Available for Anyone
On October 4th I announced Sway – Microsoft’s newest app in the Office portfolio. Now Microsoft is throwing away the waiting list for Sway and opening it up for everyone with a Microsoft account to test drive. Although less robust, Microsoft Sway is similar to PowerPoint in that it is a presentation app. Sway’s focus, however, is on letting users make presentations with text, images and videos on any device or browser. You can search for and pull in photos, videos and other content directly from connected apps like Facebook, YouTube, OneDrive, Bing and Twitter. Sway also has layouts and themes that you can switch between, by using the Remix and Mood buttons, when creating your Sways. Once you have saved and completed your Sway, anyone can access your sway from its URL address.
Sway statistical data
On Monday, Microsoft released some of the data they have received since launching the Sway preview in October. According to the Microsoft Office blog they have received over 1 million unique visitors to Sway.com and over 175,000 requests to join, with thousands more joining every day.
Sway’s newest updates
Along with the stats released for Sway on Monday, Microsoft also released new updates and features Sway users will enjoy.
- Undo and Redo: Microsoft says that these are by far the most requested feature adds: the ability to undo an action and redo the last action taken in Sway. The redo and undo options also work when using the Remix action button. With these two new features you won’t have to worry about not being able to recover your last actions in Sway.
- Bullets and Numbering: Microsoft has also stated that they have received a lot of requests for more text editing controls. So Microsoft has added bullets and numbering to the Sway text tool bar that appears at the top of the Storyline when you are editing a text card.
- Editing Text on the Canvas: It is really easy and intuitive to adjust and customize your Sway from anywhere you are working. By tapping and clicking on your Sway you are able to make a picture stand out, edit headings and captions. Now with the new editing text on canvas features, you can edit paragraphs of text in the same way, by tapping or clicking and selecting edit.
- Reordering Sections More Easily: Microsoft is obviously aiming to have creating a presentation be as easy as possible by adding this new reordering sections feature. This new feature allows you to simply move sections with a touch or mouse click. You grab the area where it says “Section” at the top or any part the section’s boarders. Then you can drag the whole section anywhere you want to move it.
- Importing a PDF into Sway: The ability to import PDF’s directly into Sway was another big request that Microsoft has now fulfilled. From your “My Sways” page you can tap or click on the Import button, select a PDF and a new Sway will be created with the contents of the imported PDF. If you want to import a PDF’s content into an Sway you are currently working on, you simply choose the upload option and select the PDF that you want to insert into your Sway.
- Improvements to the Color Picker: Microsoft is touting Sway as a digital design assistant, because you can create a great looking design with ease. In order to live up to that claim, Microsoft had to add improvements to the color palette in Sway. So now in Sway, you have a lot of new color palette options when you choose the Curated option. You can also find the latest color palettes to help change the subtle aesthetic effects of your Sway by selecting “Mood” and “Color”.
Sway for iPhone
Microsoft released the first Sway mobile app for iPhone in New Zealand a few weeks back. They chose a limited market to closely engage with customers, respond to the initial reactions given by customers, and improve upon the apps experience before they opened up the Sway app to all markets.
As of Monday Microsoft released a new build of the iPhone app to the Australian market. New Zealand customers can also download the new app build.
The new app build features includes:
- Offline Support: For creating Sways without internet connection
- Support for Background Images: For titles and section headers like in the Sway web version
- Updated Design: To support iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices
I am excited to see how Sway fully plays out as the new simplified presentation app for Office. So far, it looks like Sway has found its niche in the presentation applications field, and it is running with its new features and growing user base.
What have you or your organization made with Sway? Share your Sways with us and we may publish them in a future Sway article.