Now you can try Microsoft's Sway visual story tool on iOS, Windows 10 and the Web

Sway pulls together images, sound, and words into content for collaboration and sharing. It's a new way of communicating that's easier to try than to explain.

sway example daria musk 2
Daria Musk

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Microsoft's Sway is the anti-Office, with no rigid separation of tasks among Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Instead, it lets you create live documents that give images, video and sound as much weight as words. And now you can try it for yourself, because Microsoft has released a public app for iOS, Windows 10, and the Web.

Users can download the Windows 10 app from the Windows Store. The Sway website is live, and you can download the app for the iPad and iPhone as well.

We originally described Sway as a sort of Microsoft Word for teens, but it also includes elements of PowerPoint and even Microsoft Photos. The main elements of a Sway—which can’t be printed out, only shared—are words and massive images, either aligned as what might be called hero art, or else piled together in an engaging virtual stack of photos. Videos, tweets and PDFs can be embedded, too. New pages can also slide in and out and expand using PowerPoint-like transitions.

sway example future of solar 1

Microsoft's Sway emphasizes images and layout as much as plain text. Here's the opening to a report on solar energy.

Not surprisingly, words fail to describe Sway completely, so check out these images from a couple of Sway examples. A report on solar energy could have been pretty dry. 

sway example future of solar 2

Sway makes it easy to place large, compelling images with text to liven up what would otherwise be a standard report. You can also add sound and video easily. 

You can see in these screenshots, though, how the larger images and other layout elements help present the content better.

An even better example is the document songwriter Daria Musk created to illustrate her creative process. (Also see the image at the top of this article.)

sway example daria musk 1 Daria Musk

Songwriter Daria Musk introduces her song creation process using Sway. 

She pulled together some words, but mostly evocative images, interspersed with sound clips and scenes from her studio sessions. It's something that might have been an album insert and is now something she can share online. 

sway example daria musk 3 Daria Musk

Sway lets songwriter Daria Musk pull together images, sound clips, and sometimes, very few words, to tell her story.  

Why this matters: Microsoft has had to reinvent itself for the demands of the modern Web, and also a customer base that’s moving away from dense, textual communication toward more visual expression. Sway addresses that, leaving Word for more traditional documents.

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