Microsoft’s experimental new Office solution, Office Sway, is apparently useful enough to warrant inclusion in Office 365: the software giant announced at its Ignite conference today that Sway will soon be included with Office 365 for business and education, and will support many more languages.
Sway lets you “easily create interactive reports, presentations, lessons and more that are polished, engaging, professional, and look great across devices,” Microsoft says.
“It’s been inspiring to see the variety of ways people have used Sway in their educational, professional, and personal lives,” the Sway team writes in a blog post. “People all over the world tell us how excited they are to quickly create and share their ideas with a variety of multimedia using Sway’s polished, interactive, web-based canvas. Sway Preview has been an awesome journey as we’ve been listening intently to our customers and taking direction from their input.”
Microsoft released the preview version of Sway to the web in October 2014 alongside a mobile app version for iPhone which, oddly, remains the only native Sway client. Since then, Microsoft has updated Sway several times, most recently in April, when features like focus points were added to the web app.
Here’s what’s changing.
Office Sway is heading to Office 365 business and education versions
Starting later this month, all Office 365 business and education subscribers who have opted into the First Release feature deployment path will gain access to Sway. To support this, Sway on the web and iPhone will be updated to support signing in with Office 365 work or school accounts.
Sway for business and education will look and work much like the public consumer version. But a few things will be different:
Content sources are optimized for Office 365. When you insert content into a sway, you will see content sources that make sense for Office 365. For example, consumer OneDrive is replaced by OneDrive with OneDrive for Business. The sources you see in Sway for Office 365 will continue to evolve based on customer feedback.
Private to your organization by default. Where consumer-created sways are public by default, those created within your business or school will be private to your organization by default. So viewers will need to be signed in to see your sways unless you choose different sharing settings.
You have to be more explicit to share with consumer social networks. In the Office 365 version of Sway, the social network share buttons have been removed from the top level of the product. You can still share to social media, but you must change the sharing level first and then copy and paste the link directly to the social network.
Basic administrative controls are in place. As you might expect, Office 365 admins will have some basic controls over Sway, including the ability to turn off the Sway service and to disable external sharing at the organizational level. Over time, the list of admin controls will grow, Microsoft says.
Support for more languages
While it’s possible to write sways using non-English languages, the product only provides an English UI today. But that’s changing: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish are being made available “this quarter,” and additional languages will be added over time. This will impact the consumer (public) version of Sway as well as Sway for business and education.
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