Introducing Microsoft Sway – a creative PowerPoint

11.09.2019 |

Microsoft SwayOffice 365Presentation tools

Introducing Microsoft Sway – a creative PowerPointI imagine that whenever you have a presentation to prepare, your automatic preference is Microsoft PowerPoint, right?

Of course it is. For most of us, it’s all we’ve ever known and it does the job. But did you know Microsoft has another presentation-building programme in its arsenal?

It’s called Sway, and the tagline is: Create visually striking newsletters, presentations, and documentation in minutes.

That still sounds a lot like PowerPoint to us. So what makes Sway different? And why would you choose it over the more familiar PowerPoint?

Let’s take a closer look.

Shedding its corporate image

For those who work in creative environments, perhaps an office where people are free to wear t-shirts, PowerPoint might be perceived as something of a corporate philistine.

Sway is designed to address this disconnect. Positioned as a cloud-based application for storytelling, the design and layout is certainly much warmer than PowerPoint’s clinical exterior.

How to get Sway

Since Sway sits in the ‘cloud’, there isn’t a programme to download and install on your computer. If you have an Office 365 subscription, Sway is included as standard with all its bells and whistles. If you don’t have Office 365, then you just need to register for a free Microsoft account and you’ll have Sway access right away.

‘We’ll help you get started’

Creating content is a key part of the Sway offering. Helping you get started on whatever it is you want to write about is heavily emphasised throughout, and there is no shortage of ideas or encouragement.

First of all, there are a few dozen templates to get your creative juices flowing for presentations, portfolios, CVs, or newsletters. While this is okay, it’s worth noting that PowerPoint has templates that number in the thousands.

It’s Sway’s determination to help, that really sets it apart.

Say you’re creating a presentation that’s all about the piano, but you don’t quite know where to begin.

Sway is ready and waiting.

Sway Welcome Page

Here, you’ll see that Sway creates an outline of your presentation for you. It will cover definitions, uses, key areas to talk about, additional topics you might link to, imagery, and more.

Wikipedia provides all the data with Sway self-referencing as it goes, so you can easily double-check your sources and tweak them as you see fit.

It’s all very impressive, and you wonder how long it might be until software like this is capable of generating awe-inspiring presentations straight out of the box. Sway suggests that it won’t be long.

The Sway storyline

Sway doesn’t use slides like PowerPoint does. Instead, it uses ‘cards’ as a way of creating new content that forms a continuous ‘storyline’.

Sway Storyline

These cards cover video, text, imagery, or other Microsoft Office files. And, as you scroll through your final Sway, each card does flow together as a continuous whole. This means your audience can enjoy your content as a seamless narrative. Any fragmentation you might have experienced as you click through separate PowerPoint slides is gone.

Once you’re finished and ready to publish or share your work, you can embed your Sway in a web page or email out a specific link to the document. There are no files to download and save to your computer, as Sway is cloud-based.

PowerPoint or Sway?

If your presentations tend to revolve around charts and graphs, then PowerPoint will probably be a good choice. It is after all, a popular corporate tool.

But if you’re looking to tell a more visual story with heaps of online content, then look to Sway. Not only will it do everything it can to help you get there, Sway also works well if your viewer will be navigating your presentation without you.

More to Office 365 than meets the eye?

Do you run a small business that uses Office 365? You may have realised that it’s a pretty vast piece of kit, with a host of features that can enhance your business. It can also be quite daunting.

Clearwater IT are experts when it comes to Office 365. If you’re interested in exploring our on-going support packages, which start from just £20 per user, per month, please get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to help.

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