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Meet Sway, Microsoft’s New Office App

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Designed to meet the changing needs of computer users is Sway, a new addition to the family of Microsoft Office apps. Sway is a cross-platform content aggregation tool allowing users to easily develop and share web-based presentations that are rich in both pictures and text. How can a tool like Sway help your business?

The invitation-only preview version of Sway was first released by Microsoft last October, and after experiencing a high volume of requests, Microsoft made the preview version available to everyone. You can preview the product yourself from Sway.com.

Sway is a unique app that can do a variety of tasks. To give you an idea of what Sway is all about, check out this promotional video from Microsoft.

Sway looks to be a pretty slick product, and there’s one telling sign in the video that gives you an idea of Microsoft’s new direction as seen in Sway. Did you catch that Microsoft was advertising Sway with people using an iPhone and iPad? This marketing move would be unheard of just a few short years ago when Steve Ballmer was pushing Microsoft’s Surface tablet and Windows Phone.

Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, we’re seeing this bold new strategy of software integration by Microsoft offering its most beloved apps on platforms like iOS and Android, and the addition of new apps like Sway. Sway is a classic example of this new Office 365 direction with the app being cloud-based and accessible via web browser, which means it works from both PC and mobile device and doesn’t require a Windows operating system.

Of everything that Sway can do, it’s first and foremost a presentation software. Now hold on right there, isn’t that PowerPoint’s exclusive job? Yes and no. Whereas PowerPoint presentations use slides, Sway is web based and presents via browser by scrolling or swiping. Essentially, as you present with Sway it looks like you’re scrolling down a big webpage. If done right, a Sway presentation can flow nicely. Lifehacker.com speculates that Sway may appeal to users over PowerPoint when it comes to making a casual presentation, but users looking for a heavier and more informative presentation will still gravitate towards PowerPoint.

Another cool feature about Sway is that it uses an intuitive algorithm to assist you with making a dynamic presentation. Additionally, the makers of Sway are always looking for ways to improve the product so it’s being constantly updated to take into account trends and new technologies, which is fitting for the world of ever-changing content (like social media) that today’s users are used to interacting with. In fact, Sway gives users the ability to embed Tweets and Facebook posts in the presentation, which is a cool way to spice it up. Also, Sway is a cross-platform presentation tool that automatically adjusts to the screen size and screen position. This will give the user confidence that the information being displayed will look as good as possible, no matter if it’s on a large screen, tablet, laptop, smartphone, or other.

Sway also makes it easy to compile and access your content by pulling it from your cloud-based OneDrive account and other web-based apps like social media and web pages. To make a Sway presentation, all you have to do drag and drop the desired content from the web to your Sway Canvas. Sway has a built-in design engine that formats content into a cohesive layout. Sway’s design engine is meant to give amateur designers the ability to make dynamic presentations with ease. This is attractive in a content-driven world where everyone seems to expect dynamic content, but few people possess the skills to really make their content stand out.

Sway is a bold move by Microsoft, and it seems to really hit on a lot of needs of SMBs. What do you think of Sway? Have you tried it? Are you planning on giving it shot? Do you have a different presentation tool that you prefer? Let us know in the comments and contact Tektonic at (416) 256-9928 for assistance in equipping your business with all of your Microsoft Office needs.

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Date: March 4th, 2015, Author: Jorge Rojas