New features for Microsoft Sway

by Volker Weber

It’s now been a few months since Sway became generally available. Last month we introduced new controls that allow Office 365 business and education admins to better manage and tailor the way Sway is used within their organization. This month we’re ushering in 2016 with new Sway capabilities we recently added to enhance your experience and increase the ways you can use Sway to create polished, interactive content.

Have you ever used Sway to create content? Do you use it for presentations? I am looking for better tools than the old presentation slide deck.

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As with all things, it depends on what you need and what design approaches fit the way you think.

I've heard good things about Sway and .

Craig Wiseman, 2016-01-25

Have a look at to see a large amount of "Sways" created.

( is Microsoft's alternative to

Frank van Rijt, 2016-01-25

Craig, Prezi is one of these things that presenters like and audiences hate.

Frank, there may be plenty, but I could not find a single good one. Do you know a good one?

Volker Weber, 2016-01-25

Although a demo by Microsoft itself I suspect, I think this is a good example:

Frank van Rijt, 2016-01-25

Personally I'm not a fan of Prezi or Sway (although I have only ever seen demos of Sway). My reasoning.... motion sickness.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-01-25

Frank, thank you. That ruled it out for me. You saved me a lot of time.

Indeed, Ian. It is the opposite of what I want to do.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-25

Volker, I agree with you.

For me, giving it a first look, Sway looks a tool to create photobooks or animated manuals/learning books (with embedded pictures and videos) in a fast way, but not as an alternative for presentations.

Frank van Rijt, 2016-01-25

Et voila

Ben Lampe, 2016-01-25

Very well, Ben. That one shows what you can build with Sway.

What I like about it that we often dumb down too much information to make it fit the Powerpoint format. Sway has the potential to build more meaningful documents. However, it does not fit my need to support a speech with visuals. But I see potential. One could have two versions, the long text form for later reading, and a visual one without text for the speech itself. Don't think the tools is there yet.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-25

For one definition of 'better' (in the absence of meaningful measures for the term), this presentation tool offers simplicity while being limited only by imagination and one's ability to create dynamic html:

David Richardson, 2016-01-25

Thanks, David. That is Powerpoint without Powerpoint. I like the idea of going source code, but it is still very much slides with bullet points. Who remembers Harvard Graphics? ;-)

Volker Weber, 2016-01-25

Interesting. Just last weekend, I asked myself the same. I used Sway in its early beta days and Microsoft and wondered if it matured enough to fulfill my needs in my new job. It came up to my mind while preparing a new presentation.

I it still very good to present a certain topic in a 'self-surviving' way, i.e. with no audio track. For life presentations, I am still missing options to reduce content to a visually appealing format.

Ingo Seifert, 2016-01-26

I'm often asked if Sway is a replacement for PowerPoint. Simple answer... no. If you try to take a PowerPoint presentation, and re-make it in Sway, you'll probably fail.

Sway is good for telling a story or setting out a vision. I've used it to tell the story of a family vacation, and also created a couple of demos to present some info about things like the UK newspaper circulation, and the market for fitness trackers.

Here's my Sway for our summer holiday last year...

Darren Adams, 2016-01-28

Darren, and what a great vacation. ;)

Mariano Kamp, 2016-01-28

Darren, nice one. And yes, that is what Sway is all about. Telling stories with text and other media.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-28

Another interesting tool for interactive storytelling on the web would be pageflow ->

It was developed together with Westdeutscher Rundfunk as open source software to create their reports ->

Quite impressive in my opinion, but maybe not as convenient as Sway...

Dennis Wegner, 2016-01-29

Thank you, Dennis. I was not aware of that project. Excellent!

Volker Weber, 2016-01-29 Was good enough for me to subscribe and not opt out of the daily feed it sends me with examples. Beautifully simple. Would use it to tell stories with pictures for sure.

Maikel Maes, 2016-01-29

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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