It’s called “Sway” and Microsoft is billing this latest addition to its Office portfolio as a “way to re-imagine how your ideas come to life.”
The new Office app, released in preview on Wednesday, can be used to create a wide range of document types, such as presentations and Web pages, as well as standard documents and reports. Components can include anything from text and tables, to photos, videos and animations.
Microsoft says Sway is designed to help users quickly create and share polished, interactive content. For example, a marketing professional could use Sway to craft a corporate brochure, or a do-it-yourselfer could share his woodworking expertise, complete with step-by-step video instructions.
More Than a Document
“A ‘Sway’ is what we call the canvas you create using Sway, and it’s much more than a document in the traditional sense,” according to Microsoft. “It’s built from the ground up for the Web and devices.”
Microsoft said the new app adapts to fit any device, large or small. Sway is also built for cloud computing, so users can just drop in their content from their cloud storage, their individual devices, or their social networks.
Users’ Wways are stored in Microsoft’s Azure cloud and the photos used to create their sways are stored in OneDrive, Microsoft’s storage app. Users can share their content with others even if they don’t have the Sway app installed via links as well as on certain social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
Sway’s built-in design engine makes it easy for users to format their various pieces of content by integrating them into cohesive layouts, according to Microsoft. Then, users can easily adjust their designs to create something that reflects their unique styles.
“This means from the first word, image, Tweet, or graphic you add, your Sway is already being formed for you,” Microsoft explains. As you add more of your content, Sway continues to analyze and arrange it based on built-in algorithms and design styles. You can then easily adjust and customize the format as needed.
More To Come for Biz
Looking ahead, Microsoft says it plans to do more “basics” like hooking up to more sources for users’ content, offering Sway in more languages, providing more styles and layouts, and offering even more fine-grained controls for Sway output.
In addition, Microsoft plans to add more business-specific features. A few examples include OneDrive for Business and SharePoint connectivity, integrating the Office Graph, and capabilities for information protection and IT management.
Anyone who wants to test-drive Sway can request an invite. Users can then offer feedback to Microsoft -- what they like, what they don’t like and what they want added.