Getting Started with Sway

New to Microsoft Sway? This article provides an overview of how easy it is to create and share anything with Sway’s colorful and interactive canvas. Learn how to create and preview your first Sway, how to add and embed content, and how to share your finished creation with others.

What is Sway?

Sway intro video - click image to play

Video: Use Sway to reimagine how your ideas come to life


Sway is a new app from Microsoft Office that makes it easy to create and share interactive reports, personal stories, presentations, and more.

Start by adding your own text and pictures, search for and import relevant content from other sources, and then watch Sway do the rest. With Sway, you’re no longer limited to picking a pre-designed template that makes your presentations look like everyone else’s, and you don’t have to have any design skills to transform and showcase information in modern, interactive, and attention-getting ways.

With Sway, there’s no need to spend lots of time on formatting. Its built-in design engine takes care of making your creation look its best. If the initial design doesn’t quite match your taste or mood, you can easily apply another — or fully customize your layout to make it your own.

It’s super easy to share your finished Sways. Family, friends, classmates, and coworkers can see your creations on the Web without signing up, signing in, or downloading anything. And you can change the privacy settings for any Sway whenever you want more control over what you share.

Sway is free to use for anyone with a Microsoft Account (Hotmail, Live, or Outlook.com). You can create more sophisticated Sways with more content when you use Sway as part of an Office 365 subscription. For more information, see Add more content to your Sways with Office 365.


What can I create with Sway?

Whether it’s a report, a presentation, a newsletter, a personal story, a photo album, or a visual trip report, there’s virtually no limit on what you can express creatively with Sway.

Reports

Presentations

Newsletters

Stories

             Reports

         Presentations

          Newsletters

              Stories


If you’re not sure what’s possible, you can get inspiration by viewing and interacting with Sways that other people have created. After you’ve signed in to Sway (see below), scroll down to the bottom of the My Sways page, and then browse through the featured content under the heading “Get inspired by a featured Sway.” You can also choose to start with one of the featured templates to begin using and learning Sway.


Sign in to start creating

To get started with Sway, visit www.sway.com in any browser and then click Sign in on the top menu bar.

Sign In button on the toolbar


When prompted, enter the email address you want to use with Sway. You can use your free Microsoft Account (Hotmail, Outlook.com) or any organizational account given to you by your work or school. If you don’t already have an account, visit www.microsoft.com/account to sign up for free.

On the My Sways page that opens after you’ve signed in, click or tap Create New to start creating your first Sway.


Create New button on the My Sways page


Get to know the Sway Storyline

The Storyline is where you type, insert, edit, and format the content that tells your story. Content is arranged in sequential order by adding so-called “Cards,” each of which holds the type of content you want — such as text, images, videos, and even Office documents. The order of cards can be rearranged at any time to suit your needs.


Cards task pane and Sway Storyline


Give your Sway a title

Click the Title your Sway placeholder text shown in the first card on the Storyline, and then type a short but meaningful description of what your Sway is all about. When you later share your finished Sway, this title will be the first thing that others will see.


Title prompt on the Sway Storyline


Add images and text to your Sway

To add basic content to your Sway, such as text and images, click or tap the <+> icon in the bottom left corner of any existing card, and then choose the type of content you want to add. To see all available options, click Cards on the top menu bar. If you prefer, you can also drag and drop text and images right onto your Storyline. (Don’t hesitate to experiment — you can change the order of your content at any time and customize each card the way you want.)


Add images and text to the Storyline


Add content to your Sway

You can easily search for and add additional content to your Sway, such as an image that is stored on your computer or mobile device. Sway can also search the Web for the most relevant content, such as videos and tweets, and add it to your Sway. On the top menu bar, click Insert, select your preferred content source from the menu, and then enter any search keyword or phrase into the Search sources box.


Insert menu and content search box


Preview your Sway

You can preview your work in progress at any time by clicking the left-facing arrow next to the Preview pane near the upper right. When you preview your Sway, you can see how it will appear to others when you later decide to share it. To fully experience your Sway (including any interactivity options that you’ve added on the Layout menu), click the Play button on the top menu bar.


Preview the current Sway


To return to your Storyline when you’re done previewing your Sway, click the right-facing arrow near the upper left.

Exit Preview to Storyline view


Change the design and layout of your Sway

Sway lets you focus on what you’re trying to communicate by taking care of the formatting, design, and layout of your content. You can keep Sway’s suggested default design, select and apply your own, and even customize the layout.

To choose a design for your Sway, click Design on the top menu bar, and then select the theme you want. To choose a random look and mood for your Sway at any time, click the Remix! button on the top menu bar until you find a design that suits your taste. You can also adjust a specific part of the currently applied theme, such as color, font choices, and the emphasis of animation by clicking the Customize button in the Design pane.


Design and Layout options in Sway


If you want to control how others will view and navigate your Sway once you’ve shared it, click the Layout button on the top menu bar and then select whether your content should scroll vertically, horizontally, or appear like a presentation.


Share your Sway

Ready to share your Sway with the world — or perhaps just with selected people? Click the Share button on the top menu bar and then select how you want to share your Sway. Your choices on this menu depend on the type of account that you used to sign in to Sway.

Sharing options in Sway


For a more detailed look at all available sharing options, see Share your Sway.


Go mobile with Sway

Sway works in all modern mobile browsers, regardless of platform. Whether you’re taking the sightseeing trip of a lifetime, documenting research for school, or taking part in an important business conference, Sway is always just a tap away.

  • Sway.com
    Visit www.sway.com in any mobile browser, no matter what the platform or device.

  • Sway for iOS
    Find the free Sway app for your Apple iPhone or iPad on the App Store.

  • Sway for Windows 10
    Find the free Sway app for your Windows 10 device in the Windows Store.


Discover Accessibility features in Sway

The browser that is used to author and view a Sway determines the Accessibility features that are available. For best results, we recommend Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.

You can use Sway in a high-contrast mode with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to your content. Click More Options ( . . . ) on the top menu bar, and then click or tap Accessibility view. To quit Accessibility view, use the same command again.

For more information about Sway Accessibility, please read the following:


Next steps with Sway

  • Watch video tutorials
    Ready to dig deeper into the capabilities that Sway has to offer? Watch our free video tutorials to learn best practices for using Sway.

  • Follow Sway on Facebook
    Stay in touch with the Sway community and get news and inspiration from people just like you. Follow Sway on Facebook.

  • Read the Sway blog
    Stay up to date on Sway news and new feature releases. Follow the official Sway blog and never miss an update.

  • Send us your feedback
    Got an idea for a new feature or a suggestion for improvement? Visit the Sway UserVoice site to share your thoughts with the product team. You can also vote on the best ideas already submitted by other Sway users.

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