As Microsoft's gateway drug, OneNote, continues to gain in popularity across platforms, adding functional integration into Sway seems like a no brainer. For the teachers and students who are now getting Office for free, the stay at home parents who blog for a living or the PowerPoint illiterate enterprise-type, Sway is also shaping up to be the bridge beyond Microsoft's traditional Office suite. It lives online, and is quickly gaining the functionality to be a one stop shop for web presentations, websites, and blogging.
Today the Sway team has added yet even more features to bring it up to speed.
- Add your OneNote images to Sway
- More third-party sources for embeddable web content
- Suggested searches is more powerful
- New interactive photo options
- More ways to share and grow your audience
OneNote and Image gathering
With today's update, adding images and other content has become even easier.
"Now, with the recent integration of OneNote, you can easily add images to your Sways from your OneNote notebooks saved on OneDrive. Whether you capture documents, whiteboards, or business cards using Office Lens; or send your web and screen clips to OneNote using the OneNote Clipper - now you can easily add those images to your Sway to help bring your ideas to life. Simply select OneNote from the drop-down on the Insert tab, navigate to your desired images and drag and drop them into the Storyline."
3rd party source embedding
The Sway team also highlights its support of more third party sources for embedded web content. A few weeks back Sway introduced support for a variety of web content types that could tie directly into Sway, including videos, images, audio clips, maps, charts and full-on documents. With today's update, embedded content can come from Office Mix, Infogr.am, Mixcloud, and even anything created in Sway itself. So if you need to reference some other Sway presentations, you can now embed parts of or the entire project into your own.
Bolstering Suggested Search functionality
The presentation suite also gained more functionality for suggested search options to help with streamlining projects. In December Bing Image Search and Suggested searches were added and in today's update, users now get access to suggested searches from YouTube and tweets in addition to images with Creative Common licenses.
Adding interactivity and engagement
While not yet implemented, the Sway team is also looking forward to adding new ways to make images more interactive and engaging with options like: Comparison will let you use a slider to visually compare two images overlaying each other, instead of seeing them side by side. Moving the slider in either direction will hide more of one image so you can see more of the other. Slideshow will let you peruse multiple images as a carousel, slider or a slideshow with thumbnails. Slideshows will be perfect for having all your images in one place.
Cautiously growing an audience
Lastly Sway is adding more control to the levels at which people can choose to share their projects with three more options:
- Public - Are you making a marketing brochure, a portfolio or just expressing yourself, and want to grow your audience? This option makes your Sway discoverable on the Internet. This means anyone can potentially use Bing, Google or other search engines to find, view and even share your Sway. You can gain many more viewers who may find your Sway during the course of their everyday searches.
- People with the link - Same as the behavior Sway has had until now, where your Sway is not made available to search engines, but anybody with the unique URL for your Sway can view it, without logging in. This is the default setting for all new Sways and any previously-created Sways.
- Just me - Want your Sway to stay private? This option requires you to log in with your personal credentials to see your Sway. Even those with the URL would not be able to see it without your log in information.
It's quickly becoming clear that Sway is no longer just a side project of Microsoft's Office suite but that Microsoft is looking for it to eventually become on the top names in the portfolio right next to Exchange, Excel, and Word.