Knowledge base

April 16, 2021

What is Microsoft Sway? How to use the powerful presentation program and how it differs from PowerPoint

Microsoft has been active as a hardware and software juggernaut for decades. And when you look at their products, it’s not hard to see why – almost every PC user on Earth has used Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 at some point.

And while we often think of Office as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, there are actually many more programs out there.

One of the most useful is Microsoft Sway. Sway is a presentation maker app that can be accessed for free on as long as the user has a Microsoft account. For those with a Microsoft 365 subscription, Sway offers more features than the free version.

What is Microsoft Sway?

Microsoft Sway is similar to PowerPoint in that both can be used to create eye-catching and informative presentations. But while PowerPoint is all about slideshow format, Sway’s uses are more varied.

With Sway, you can create everything from newsletters and resumes to portfolios and blogs. You can start from scratch if you have a specific design in mind, or you can upload images, documents, and YouTube videos, and Sway will design something for you.

Plus, Microsoft Sway is hosted entirely online, making it easy to access and share your completed work anywhere with an Internet connection.

How to use Microsoft Sway

To get started with Microsoft Sway, you must choose one of three options from the application:

  • “Create New” allows you to create a Sway project from scratch.
  • With “Start from a topic” you can search for specific topics and create an outline for your presentation based on that topic.
  • “Start from a document” will prompt you to upload a document, which Sway will adapt into a presentation concept.
Microsoft Sway

With Sway, you can choose from several templates, start from scratch, or upload an existing document. Chrissy Montelli / Insider

You can also click on one of the available templates for an instant overview.

Microsoft Sway
There are a number of pre-designed templates to choose from.

There are two main components to Sway’s interface: the Storyline tab and the Design tab. The storyline is your dashboard for organizing the content of the presentation, while the design allows you to see what the presentation will look like. Simply put, you create the presentation in the Storyline tab, and people viewing it see the Design tab.

If you’ve ever blogged using WordPress, it’s a good reference point for how Sway’s storyline works. The storyline divides individual paragraphs, images, and videos into “cards” so that they can be easily organized, moved, and told the story you are trying to communicate with your presentation. As you move items on your storyline, the Design tab will reflect these changes.

When you’re ready to share your Sway, click the “Play” button in the top right corner to see what it looks like, then “Share” to send the finished Sway to whoever you want.

Microsoft Sway

As with most creative endeavors, the easiest way to put together great Sways is to play around with them and see what works best for what you’re trying to do.

Source: business insider

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