Presentation Storytelling: Meet Microsoft Sway

Microsoft’s new online program called Office Sway is another presentation program, but it is not PowerPoint. In fact, it is not even remotely similar to PowerPoint, and that’s great because this difference provides Sway with a new platform and no comparisons are needed!

So what exactly is Sway? Sway has been designed from the ground up to be more of a storytelling presentation program rather than something you will use for slides in your next boardroom meeting where every slide has a chart. Well, if you wanted you could still use Sway for those typical presentations, but PowerPoint probably would work better!

Sway 1Sway is easy to use, does not require any download or installation since it is a program that runs within your browser – and it lets you create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more by combining text and media to create an online presentation. Make note though that a downloadable version of Sway is available for mobile devices such as iPads and Windows tablets.

You can view and edit Sways from almost any modern web browser. You can also share Sways directly from within the browser via so that others can discover and share them. Clearly, there’s so much to learn about!

There are several tutorials on the Sway site at that will help you get started.sway 3

The first step though is for you to sign into your Sway account. If you have a Microsoft account, then you already have a Sway account! A Microsoft account contains credentials you use to sign into any of Microsoft’s services such as Hotmail, Outlook, XBox, Live, Zune, etc. Once you sign into Sway for the first time, you will see content uploaded by others. Why? That’s because you still need to create your own Sway!

Are you a little confused about how we are using the term “Sway” in this article? Yes, we do refer to both the program itself and the presentations created as Sways. You will understand what we mean via the context in which the term has been used in a sentence.

sway2To create a new Sway, you will click on the prominent Create New option, highlighted in red in two places within the screenshot on the right.

You can also create a new Sway by importing a Word, PowerPoint or PDF file. To do so, click the Import button shown highlighted in blue within the screenshot. You can sign out of Sway by clicking on the three dots shown highlighted in green. This will bring up the menu shown in the screenshot below where you can choose the Sign out option.

You can learn more about how Sway evolved in an interview with Chris Pratley, who is General Manager for Microsoft Sway.


 Geetesh Bajaj iGeetesh2s an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations.  For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.


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