Microsoft has been striving to dominate the enterprise workforce, and continues to do so by offering more tools through Office 365. Office Sway is Microsoft’s latest presentation tool that is now available for free not only for Office 365 subscribers, but also for those using Windows 10, iPhone and iPads. Here at Compulite our collaboration team goes beyond providing computer services, and have highlighted the top 3 reasons you need to explore Sway:
1. Create content easily
Use Sway as your digital story teller. With built in formatting, you can easily turn your content into blogs, lesson plans, and training materials or as a sales pitch to prospective clients. Regardless of the content type, you will be able to create and convey your concepts quickly, easily and clearly.
- Content is decided and controlled by the user. This allows you to control which content is most important and lets you use copy and paste features for text. Make use of graphics and charts by importing them as images into Sway.
- Design aspects may feel limited as Sway decides the best colors, fonts and positioning of your content. But perhaps the best aspect of Sway’s designs is that they are web-centric and will be compatible on a variety of devices.
- Sway suggests searches to help you find relevant information. It can anticipate content you might want to incorporate and can include material from videos, tweets, and images that you can drag and drop right in to your creation. What is especially interesting is the ability to access all this material from within the application. There is no need to juggle between other apps or web pages to find what you want.
2. Save content securely
When building your Sway, utilize drag and drop with content from your social networks, OneDrive or directly from your device. Your work is then backed up to the cloud and can be easily shared or embedded on websites. Because Sway is cloud-centric, your changes are always saved and synced to the cloud services automatically.
- Any Sways you have created and loaded will be available offline to easily access even when you aren’t connected to the internet. (Although some interactive maps or cloud-hosted videos may be unavailable.)
- You own and control your data. The default setting (My Organization) would enforce all users in your organization to log in with credentials to view your work. Setting your Sway to private, would ensure that even those with the URL would not be able to see it without your (the owners) log in credentials. Or share the URL to your Sway publicly so that anyone can view your content without logging in. The control is in your hands, and you can revoke the URL at any time to stop sharing.
3. Share and access content globally
There are multiple ways to publish, manage and share your Sway. Users will find it a great way to collaborate with others too.
- Collaborate with others by granting them editing permission. Work on your Sway at the same time as your colleagues, and Sway will keep track of who and where others are editing so you can avoid working on the same sections.
- If your Sway is complete and you are ready to make it public, your content will be discoverable on the internet. Post the presentation to your website, YouTube, Facebook or Flickr. In the non-editing mode, users can view your presentation in vertical or horizontal scrolling or presentation mode.
Creating and sharing a Sway has been made easy as it does not require downloading any additional software to access. Although at first glance, it feels similar to PowerPoint, the two applications can co-exist.
- Sway has the ability to create content types like newsletters, manuals, and blogs. Sway is primarily for presenting ideas on screen rather to an audience. Educators in particular will find the tool incredibly useful in lesson planning, or display classroom projects. Small businesses will find making sales material and brochures becomes much easier and effective with Sway.
- PowerPoint will still be the go to application for user who need to adhere to marketing guidelines, and full control over their designs. It is ideal for less formal situations.
It’s important to remember that your finished product is stored in Azure within the United States data centers. This may not be compliant with some strict corporate policies, but Microsoft is working to support data centers worldwide. You can read more about how data residency effects Canadian small and medium sized business in one of Compulite’s earlier blog posts. It’s just one more way Compulite goes beyond providing local IT support.