What Is Microsoft Sway?

This Office 365 app is a powerful tool for sharing information online

What is MS Sway?

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Microsoft Sway is an Office 365 app available for Windows 10 or higher. Although the app is free to download or use online, it has even more functionality when used in conjunction with an MS Office 365 subscription.

You can add a wide variety of content from virtually anywhere to Sway to create interactive presentations, newsletters, or documents. You can even print or share a Sway in a number of ways, as well.

Sway is a presentation designer, but it isn't quite PowerPoint, Publisher, or Word, even thought there are elements of all those applications included. Learning it's features as well as its limitations will help you decide how and when to use the Sway app.

Where to Find Sway

There are two ways to access Microsoft Sway: on the web or on your desktop.

If you have a Microsoft account, you have access to Sway on the web. And, if you have any of the following, you have a Microsoft account.

If you don't have a login for any of these, you can easily sign up for a free Microsoft account. Once you log in to your MS account, you can open Sway online from the menu in the upper-left corner of any account page or go directly to sway.office.com.

Screenshot showing Sway in Microsoft menu in Outlook.com

Sway on the web is optimized for the following browsers:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Firefox 17 or later
  • Chrome 23 or later
  • Safari 6 or later

You can also download the desktop version of Microsoft Sway if you have Windows 10. If you already have an Office 365 subscription installed on your PC, simply type sway into your Windows search box and select the Sway app to open it.

Content Types Available

Microsoft calls Sway a digital storytelling app for businesses. There are four basic content types you can create using Sway:

  • Reports
  • Presentations
  • Newsletters
  • Stories

However, these can all be tweaked and built upon to make any number of visual and interactive documents. For instance, templates and featured "Sways," as Sway files are called, include:

  • Resumes
  • Portfolios
  • Projects
  • Photo albums
  • Press releases
  • Training documentation
  • Tutorials
  • Blog posts
Screenshot of Sway templates and featured Sways

You can use one of the many templates offered or create a Sway from scratch. In addition, you can reuse content from your existing files. Sway lets you import content from Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and PDF files.

Version Differences

There are a handful of differences between the free version of Sway and the one that comes as part of MS Office 365.

  • The Insert tab in Sway 365 offers unique content sources.
  • Sway 365 has scoped built-in sharing options.
  • The Office version of Sway provides enhanced content limits.

In addition, Office 365 Sway users can add password protection, remove the informational footer, add a logo to the title, view advanced analytics, and more.

Creating and Sharing Content

Depending on the version you use, you can share and collaborate on Sways you create. You can invite others to view or edit a sway:

  • With a URL
  • With a visual link that displays a preview
  • On Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
  • With a link embedded on your website

You can require that others use a password to access the Sway you created, as well.

You can also export Sway content to Word or to a PDF if you want to store it offline or print the content.

Create Visually-Appealing Designs in MS Sway

Microsoft Sway is a user-friendly program for creating numerous professional designs that are eye-catching in any format. You can use it to pull a variety of content types into one location, dragging and dropping everything from photos and videos to text or charts onto the canvas without ever navigating outside of the app.

In fact, Sway could be Microsoft's unintentional best-kept secret.