Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has taken Sway out of preview on the web, iPhone and iPad. Even more exciting, Sway is now available on Windows 10, marking the first time Microsoft has made a native app version of Sway available outside of iOS.
Additionally, Sway is now rolling out to all eligible Office 365 for business and education customers worldwide. It was previously available only to First Release customers.
“Sway helps you create professional designs in minutes,” the Office Sway team explains in a post to the Office Blogs. “You bring your ideas and raw content, and Sway’s intelligent design engine creates a polished, cohesive layout that helps your images, text, videos and other media flow together in a way that enhances your story. Sway makes sure your creations look great no matter what device they’re being viewed on—phones, tablets, laptops, PCs or even the largest Microsoft Surface Hub.”
Since the first preview release on iPhone and web in October 2014, Microsoft has steadily improved Sway, adding a number of customer-driven improvements, including multi-user collaboration and photo cropping. But with today’s milestone, there are a number of new changes. They are:
Sway for Windows 10
Sway for Windows 10 is now available for free from Windows Store. As a native app, Sway can be used offline, though some features (like interactive maps and cloud-hosted videos) will require an Internet connection. You can also log in to multiple accounts, so you can work on both personal and work sways.
Microsoft notes that this first release of Sway for Windows 10 is for PCs and tablets (i.e. “big” Windows) and that a version for Windows 10 Mobile will ship “in the coming months.”
New screen-based navigation choice
Since the initial release, Sway has offered a unique ability to correctly display sways on various device form factors from phones to tablets to large screen PCs, and navigate either horizontally or vertically. With this GA (general availability) release, Sway picks up a new navigation layout that is screen-based, so you can group content—images, text, videos, tweets, whatever—on individual screens and then navigate between them. “Now you can deliver a killer presentation in-person or for viewing across many devices,” Microsoft notes.
I had actually forgotten about this, but Microsoft had previously created a custom version of the Office Web Apps—the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote—for Facebook users at Docs.com. This week, Microsoft is relaunching Docs.com as “an Internet destination to publish Office documents in full fidelity for the world to find, browse and share … and a place where you can publish collections of your Sways to share with friends, fans and the rest of the Internet community.” I’m not completely clear why Microsoft needs both Office Online and Docs.com, and will be curious to see if these two things simply merge at some point in the future.