Why you should try the Microsoft Sway presentation app right now

This is a good example of a multiplatform app that just works

Picking the right app can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.

When you find an accounting tool like Freshbooks that can track whether a customer has paid an invoice for you, or a social media tool that lets you schedule Facebook posts, you can see the sales start to rack up. Even small changes like tracking email campaigns can be a huge revenue producer.

That’s why, when I heard about the Microsoft Sway app, I had to give it a try. I’m already a big fan of presentation tools like Canva and Visme, but there’s something really clever about Sway. It’s one of the most recent apps from Microsoft and will be available as a native app for Windows 10 this year. Just yesterday, the Redmond tech giant announced the release of its new iPad version.

Here’s how it all works. Let’s say you want to communicate about a new business product in a way that has some graphic flare. Of course, you can hire a designer who knows how to build a website in HTML or shoot a video and post it on YouTube. Sway combines these activities into one tool that is so easy to use, it’s almost like making a greeting card using one of those free tools from HP. You add in a few elements — a chart, a video, a headline — and publish.

I like how Sway makes this so intuitive. Let’s say you hired a new-product manager. You could announce the new hire by creating a quick video, adding in some text, and maybe include some of her background and a few team photos. It’s now an online promo brochure.

Or what if you decide you want to start a charitable campaign of some kind, helping people who need a fresh water supply in Africa. You can add your logo, include some text about your efforts, and post the “brochure” on Facebook. One reason these tools are so popular is that there is so much content, you have to add some visual flair on social media or your messaging will be totally lost. Yet no one wants to pay an agency every time you have a piece of news to share.

Sway also has an extremely quick workflow — I created a site in about five minutes. Probably the only glitch I found is that, if you don’t already have a Microsoft email account, you have to go through a few more steps to register. (I’ve had a Hotmail account since dinosaurs walked the Earth, so I added my account and was up and running in a few seconds.)

The iPad app is also intuitive and, of course, supports finger input for selecting content and swiping through templates and options. You essentially create your content and can then share it directly to a social media site like Facebook or Twitter. You can also generate a custom Sway.com link which you can then share yourself in an email newsletter or on your own site. The app lets you invite others to collaborate on your “sways” and finish them up together.

If you try the tool out, let me know what you think because, for me, it’s worked really well and has an intuitive interface. I’m curious if you’re able to dive right in and start using it as easily.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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