MS Sway Could Replace Powerpoint; Testing on iPhone

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has begun public testing of a new presentation application that could one day replace its incredibly popular and widely used MS PowerPoint. The main focus of the tool, named Sway, is to remove the barriers between presentations on different computing devices, such as smartphones and PCs.

The idea of Sway is that it shouldn't matter what type of content you want to build into a presentation, or what device you want to show it on. That's a major  contrast to MS PowerPoint, where it can be difficult to bring together multiple file formats or to create presentations that look the same on different size screens.

Microsoft Sway: Cohesive, Collaborative, and Mobile

One key feature is that users no longer need to make sure they've retrieved all the content they want to include in a presentation and put it in one location. Microsoft says Sway will automatically integrate with the hard drive on the machine you are using, the company's online storage service OneDrive, and even popular social networks so that you can quickly "drag and drop" content straight into a presentation.

Once you put together the presentation, Microsoft says Sway formats the content and arranges it in a "cohesive layout," though you'll still be able to make tweaks or revamp the organization completely.

There will also be added support for online collaboration through a web interface, meaning coworkers or students don't have to email files back and forth and try to keep track of which is the latest version, or who has made what changes.

When you've finished the presentation, Sway should create a single file that will automatically reformat and reflow the content to make sensible use of the space when its viewed on full-size computer monitors and laptop screens, tablet screens or even smartphone screens.

New Zealand Gets First Official Look: using iPhones

While the product is still in development, Microsoft is rolling it out for public testing. Initially it will be available to iPhone users in New Zealand. While that may seem an unlikely first release, the idea is that its a way of getting a manageable number of users to provide feedback, while still being able to stick with the original English language edition rather than start work on translating menus and help guides. (Source:

The test will be gradually extended worldwide and, as well as making it available through specific regional app stores, Microsoft will give specific users access to an online edition for computers. For that, you will need to request an invite on the Sway website and wait in a virtual line. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you like the sound of Sway? Are you happy with PowerPoint or are there other improvements you'd like to see? Do you think it's worth joining such test programs, or would you rather wait until the product is fully built?

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