Microsoft’s Office Sway picks up collaboration features

Microsoft’s Office Sway picks up collaboration features

Office Sway was unveiled by Microsoft back in October of last year and has already been through several updates.  It may be over simplifying it but Sway is like PowerPoint for the web without the complexities of PowerPoint. Sway can connect to your cloud and local storage and has a drag and drop interface for putting together your presentations. 

Sway presentations have a responsive design so that they look great on any size device and now those presentations can be collaborated on by multiple individuals.

More info on how to take advantage of these new sharing features, including step by step instructions, are available over at the Office blog - Sway is now collaborative—create and edit together with others!

Once you have read up on how to get collaborative with Sway here are some ideas they have for creating/editing Sways with your friends or co-workers:

-  Live Swaying in class—Project a Sway in a classroom, and watch how a group of students can contribute their ideas to it together at the same time. We already know of teachers who have students each make their own Sways, and then collect these Sways together into a single Sway using the embed feature. Now students can add their work directly to a class Sway that can be shared with parents as easily as sending the link!

-  Capturing an event—Use Sway at an event to do a live blog with other attendees—it’s a new way to “cover” a conference in real-time while allowing letting others follow along who are not attending. Everyone in attendance can add to their section of notes and other authors can watch it update live while previewing the Sway!

-  Working together—Of course, try out working together on some of the most common scenarios: writing reports, designing projects, crafting proposals or piecing together presentations. We on the Sway team are using these collaboration features all the time now—including for our own telemetry reports, where we periodically make a copy to generate a record, yet keep the original Sway up-to-date with the latest information and analysis.

I like the idea of a live blog for an event. I think we might have to try that during the BUILD 2015 conference later this month.

There is also a very interesting companion post that came out alongside of the announcement that is some background from the Sway team. It provides a quick insight into how they were able to make so many changes and enhancements in the short 5 months that Sway has been out:

One of the great things about working at Microsoft is that you can build on the work of other teams. Several members of the Sway team formerly worked on Word and OneNote. We’re able to learn from that experience as well as build on some shared pieces of technology in Office. We’ve built the core collaboration infrastructure for Sway based on the co-authoring technology pioneered in OneNote several years ago, which has been lighting up across Office over the last number of years. Building on our shared technology helps us not only get these features into your hands sooner, but also addresses the really hard challenges. For example, while it is not uncommon for online editing tools to support co-authoring these days, especially tools with only basic feature sets, it is much harder to find tools that reliably support this scenario when the authors go offline.

This new Microsoft is more collaborative than ever – it should be no surprise that we are seeing the same thing in the software.

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