Microsoft adds new Sway presentation application to the Office family

Microsoft's Sway presentation application, available starting today in preview form, is the newest member of the Office product family.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is rolling out on October 1 a preview of a new Office content aggregation and presentation application called Sway.


Codenamed "Remix," the Sway preview initially will be available as a Web app accessible via several different browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The preview also will be available at some time in the not-too-distant future for iOS. Microsoft plans to make Sway previews available for Android and Windows Phone phones in the coming months, as well.

(A quick note on the Remix codename: While some of us Microsoft watchers thought "Remix" was the codename for another new Office app, called Mix, it now seems as though Remix was actually the codename for Sway instead. Microsoft trademarked "Sway" in September 2014.)

Sway is a potential complement to some other Microsoft Office applications, though at this point, there's no direct integration between them. PowerPoint, Office Mix and OneNote are all examples. While Microsoft's OneNote also is an aggregation app, Microsoft officials said they consider OneNote to be more of a place to organize ideas, while Sway is more of a presentation app allowing users to share finished ideas. Office Mix, for its part, is specifically focused on improving and enhancing interactions around PowerPoint.

Sway allows users to choose among a variety of layout types, both linear and non-linear. The completed digital output that Sway users create are called "Sways." Users can share Sways with others, even those without the app installed, through links and on various supported social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

Users' sways are stored in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Photos used to create Sways are saved in Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage app. That's the cloud piece of the "mobile first, cloud first" mantra Microsoft execs are chanting these days. The mobile piece is Sway's support for a variety of mobile devices, not just those running Microsoft's operating systems.

Among the type of projects that lend themselves to sways are book reports, Web sites or even marketing brochures and other small-business-focused content. At its outset, Sway is more of a consumer app than a business one, as functionality like OneDrive for Business, SharePoint and Office Graph integration are not available yet.

Microsoft has made available a YouTube video showing more about the way Sway works.

Microsoft officials made a point of noting that the company is making available the Sway preview at a very early point in its lifecycle — a very similar message to what the Windows 10 team said yesterday regarding its Enterprise Technical Preview — in order to incorporate tester feedback into the product as it evolves.

Users interested in trying Sway can go to www.sway.com as of 9 a.m. ET/ 6 a.m. PT on October 1 to put their names on a wait list. The product will be available to users anywhere, though U.S. English support is the team's first priority. Microsoft officials will be granting applicants access to the preview on a staggered basis.

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