Getting More From Office 365 – Sway
Office 365 is a fantastic set of tools for the small business. Microsoft’s subscription based service is packed with software that can improve productivity and collaboration for all sizes of business. However, the majority of users only use a very small percentage of what’s available. In this ongoing series of posts (you can find our post on Sharepoint here) we look at some of the lesser used elements of Office 365 and investigate them further so you don’t have to.
If the ‘In A Nutshell’ guide whets your appetite and you think that you’d like to learn more will go into a bit more detail and provides links to useful resources including further reading, help videos etc.
This week we have a look at Sway.
In A Nutshell
Sway lets users create web-based presentations. It takes care of all of the design elements so the user just has to drag and drop content. It is really easy to use and you can produce some really impressive content very easily.
But Microsoft already has presentation software wrapped up doesn’t it? Well, Sway certainly doesn’t replace PowerPoint, which remains the best choice for creating more traditional, branded presentations. With Sway think more interactive and multimedia with a finished article that is more similar to website or newsletter and which is all online. Sway presentations look more like one continuous page, rather than a series of slides, and sharing via social is built in.
Whilst Sway can be used for stand-up delivery, PowerPoint remains the better option for these types of presentations. Sway is better for presentations that are consumed by viewers on their own without a presenter.
Who is it for?
Anybody who sends presentations to prospects and customers should consider Sway.
Sway is very easy to use and creates great looking content so smaller businesses who want to create a big impression should certainly be looking at Sway. As part of the Office 365 package it allows real time collaboration so a team can build a presentation together without needing to be on the same computer – which can be really useful for remote employees.
Sway is perhaps most suitable for less formal situations such as sharing of content between teams, or in situations where the content needs to be easily shared. PowerPoint will remain the choice for corporate presentations and any situation where a presenter is in front of the room and branding is important.
What’s good about it?
Very simple to use – Sway does all the formatting, themes, fonts, and more with its built-in design engine. All you have to do is put in your content and sit back and let Sway take care of the rest.
Great for sharing – Simply send a link to anyone you wish to share with and they can see your work and they don’t have to have Sway or Office 365, literally anyone can see a Sway presentation you share. You can also change the privacy settings for any presentation so that you can control who can see or edit the content.
Multi-Platform – Sway presentations can be viewed on Windows, Android, and IOS devices.
What’s bad about it?
Limited design options – one of the drawbacks of making Sway so easy to use is that the customisation is slightly restricted, with design choices limited to the elements that Sway allows you to control. There are some limitations on copy and paste features for text and graphs and charts may need to be saved as images before importing.
Design view disconnected from preview – Your presentation looks quite different whilst you’re designing it to the final version and so you may find yourself switching between the design and preview modes quite regularly whilst you work which can be irritating. Some users also report the preview and the final presentation being slightly different.
Think Sway might be worth some further investigation?
Then please read on!
Whether you prefer to read blogs or watch webinars and tutorials there are loads of resources on the web to find out more about Sway and what it can do.
However, the best thing about Sway is its simplicity so the best thing you can do is fire it up and have a go!
If you’d like to read a comprehensive review of Sway then this article by Tech Radar – http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/business-and-finance-software/microsoft-sway-1301887/review – is pretty thorough.
If you do want a little more guidance before you get going then this video from Teachers.Tech is a pretty thorough, simple to understand tutorial which runs at about 15 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZFnRVwgOOM
Microsoft themselves provide a comprehensive tutorial which includes both text and videos (they could have produced it in Sway!) https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Getting-Started-with-Sway-2076c468-63f4-4a89-ae5f-424796714a8a
We’ve (hopefully!) given a broad, unbiased, view of what it Sway can offer and pointed you in the direction of some further help in getting started. Sway is definitely a piece of software where it’s best to just dive in and have a play around. You should be producing fantastic looking online presentations in minutes!
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