Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Microsoft launches Sway -- Office's new idea collection tool

Having unveiled Windows 10 yesterday, Microsoft today welcomed a new addition to the fold in the form of Sway. This is the latest member of the Office family and it's being billed as a way to "reimagine how your ideas come to life". What does this actually mean? In many ways, Sway is an extension of OneNote. It's a web-based way to collect content, store images and text, add videos, and generally piece together everything you might need for a presentation, project, or idea. Sway is currently a preview product and, in keeping with Microsoft's "mobile-first, cloud-first world" there's a strong focus on cross-platform compatibility and cross-device syncing.

Sway is an interesting blend of existing Microsoft products, but it also brings in some new ideas. It's integrated with OneDrive, and has the note-taking features of OneNote. The various templates that can be used to present the data that is collected gives it something of a feel of PowerPoint, but it could also be used for very simple planning and project management like a cut-down, accessible version of Microsoft Project. It's all web-based and Microsoft is touting it as a "new way for you to create a beautiful, interactive, web-based expression of your ideas".

Take photos on your phone, combine them with content written on your computer, drag and drop some images into place, embed a YouTube video, pull in content from social network; Sway aims to make it possible to collect together information from as many sources as possible to create a "new type of interactive 'document' that will look great on any screen and can be shared to anyone, as effortlessly as sending a link". There are some sample documents on that give you an idea of what can be created, but the easiest way to get a feel for it is to see it in action.

Check out the introductory video and you'll find Microsoft highlights the cross-platform capabilities of Sway:

As we are now becoming increasingly used to, Microsoft is inviting feedback about Sway. In the early stages, it is an invite-only preview -- you can request an invite by heading over to the Sway homepage.

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