New to Sway—recording, closed caption, navigation, autoplay and view counts

Editor’s note 3/15/18:
The post has been updated to clarify closed caption file association is available to Office 365 commercial subscribers.

Over the last few months, we’ve been on the ground asking users what features they would like to see in the Sway app. We heard all the ways you use Sway in your personal, school and work lives, and listened to tons of great recommendations on how we could make these experiences even better. As a result of this partnership, we’re proud to announce another round of updates from the Sway team.

Audio recording

The ability to add audio to Sways was the top request from educators—as students and teachers (among others)—love to express their ideas and thoughts in this natural and intuitive way. Now, you can record your voice directly in Sway web app to make your Sway more interactive and engaging.

For more information on how to record audio in Sway and what browsers support audio recording, please see “Record audio in Sway.”

Closed caption

With the Microsoft mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we continue to add features to improve accessibility. We are excited to announce that authors can now associate closed caption files with their audio recordings or audio files added from their local drive or OneDrive/OneDrive for Business. Authors with an Office 365 commercial subscription can also associate closed caption files with any video files uploaded from their local drive or from OneDrive for Business.

First, add a new video or audio card to your Sway—by either uploading the content, recording it or adding the content from your OneDrive/OneDrive for Business account—and then expand the card using the Details button. Next, click the Add closed caption button at the bottom of the expanded card and select your closed caption file (.vtt format) and the language it is in.

When viewing a Sway that has a video with closed captions available, it is easy to simply select the option to turn closed captions on and the language of the closed caption they’d like to see.

Navigation view

Sways are now easier to navigate. Jump back and forth between sections or get a glimpse of the Sway content—all from the new Navigation view.

When you click or tap the Navigation icon (in the bottom-right corner), the Sway fades into the background and the Navigation view appears. Your Sway title, section headers, images and text collectively form an engaging and informative navigation view.

Here’s an example of the Navigation view in the Universe Sway:

Click or tap each section tile to jump to that section, or scroll to see more sections if your Sway is longer.


You told us you wanted to automatically play and continuously loop a Sway for unattended cases such as billboards.

We’re happy to announce that, if you have an Office 365 subscription, you can now set your Sway to play automatically! If you are the author of the Sway, use the menu on the top right to go to Settings and turn autoplay on. Additionally, you can autoplay any Sway you are viewing by clicking the Settings gear at the top right-hand corner of the Sway. In the Autoplay settings box, set the delay and then press Start. The Sway will now play automatically.

Once the Sway is playing, you can change the delay, pause or stop playback using the controls on the bottom-right corner.

View count

We also heard from our users that they want to know how engaged their audience is with their Sways. Now, authors can see how many people have viewed their Sway. We officially started the view count on March 13, 2017, so if you see “No data,” this means that the Sway has not had any viewers since that date.

We hope you enjoy using the newest features in Sway, and as always, we look forward to your suggestions, feedback and comments on our UserVoice page.

—The Sway team

Making the world more accessible with Sway

Today’s post was written by Brett Bigham, 2014 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the NEA National Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015.

I’m the first to admit I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to technology. It’s not that I’m not forward thinking, it’s more that I’ve spent way too many hours learning “the new best thing” only to have my district ditch it six months later for a newer, better best thing that only takes twice as long to learn. But Microsoft did something with their new Sway program that has created something every teacher needs. And they did it by asking teachers what they needed.

How Microsoft swayed me

For the past two years, I have participated in Microsoft Sway focus groups at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) conference. Groups of tech-savvy and award-winning teachers were brought in to pick our brains about what Sway needed to be. The result is a school-friendly program that allows not only second graders, but second grade teachers, the ability to quickly produce high-quality curriculum-related presentations. The NNSTOY event collection and Sways have been published on

Helping students with autism explore the world

Some people with autism have great anxiety about traveling to new places. To address this in my classroom I have created “Ability Guidebooks”—a series of step-by-step directions in photobook form on how to access community events and destinations. These guidebooks help students become familiar with an upcoming destination. With each successful community outing, they become less fearful of that unknown making the world easier, safer and less frightening for them.

When I started the project, the guidebooks were for my students in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. We were going to go ride the Aerial Tram, so I went the week before and took pictures of all the steps needed to ride the tram. It was a smashing success and soon I was creating a new Ability Guidebook every week. After they began to stack up I realized that every person with autism in the city could benefit from the books. I started sharing them with other teachers and school districts and word got around that these supports for field trips existed. I was asked to do books for the county libraries and the Portland Airport, and suddenly my city was becoming a leader in supporting community involvement for people with autism.

In 2015, I was named a National Education Association Foundation Global Fellow and was sent to Peru as an ambassador for American Education. This amazing opportunity gave me the chance to create Ability Guidebooks in a whole new country. Since then, I have added 13 new cities, 7 more countries and the guidebooks have been translated into Spanish, Italian and German. There are books for the Parthenon, the Colosseum, St. Paul’s Cathedral and over 40 other international destinations! I have dedicated my free time to creating an international standard of autism supports. But even as I fought for accessibility, my own books were not accessible to everyone.

Using Sway to open doors

In their original format, the Ability Guidebooks were meant to be read online like a book. If you could not read or were blind, you would have to rely on someone reading the book to you. Sway allowed me to overcome this problem. The program is set up not only to work in multiple languages, making translating the work much easier, but also allows for recordings to be added to the presentation. With the touch of a button a student who does not read can choose to play an audio version. By moving my work into Sway, it is opening doors to every student who cannot read or see the books.

You can see an example guidebook built in Sway here:

In partnership with Microsoft, I have launched almost 50 Ability Guidebooks in 3 different languages on for anyone to use. I encourage you to add comments to improve the guidebooks and share links to Sways with your ability guidebooks so that we together can build the world’s largest collection of Ability Guidebooks on


That’s how Microsoft swayed me. They didn’t promise me the new best thing. They sat down with teachers and created a program that will modernize and energize your classroom and your student’s work. I’m not a salesman or a Microsoft employee. What I am is a teacher who has found a valuable classroom tool that is worth sharing.

Have a great year!

—Brett Bigham

QuickStarter, audio and new styles in Sway

Last week, we announced the launch of QuickStarter, a new intelligent service that lets you go from the blank canvas to a great, working outline in seconds. Just enter your topic and QuickStarter automatically pulls in recommended sections, relevant content and suggested images tagged with Creative Commons licenses into a starter Sway. For our Office 365 education customers, the suggested content appears as hints in the Storyline—so students can still bring in their original ideas and content to their projects, reports and presentations. To get to QuickStarter, simply sign in to, click Start from a topic, enter your selected topic and then click Create outline.

Watch the animation below to see how QuickStarter makes it even faster to get to a great, polished output in Sway in seconds:


QuickStarter is available today for Sway on the web, in English within the U.S., U.K. and Canada. QuickStarter in PowerPoint will roll out for Office 365 subscribers in the coming months.


We heard from many users that you wanted to add audio clips to your Sway. We are pleased to release the ability to insert the most common audio formats (such as .mp3 and .wav) in your Sways so you and your audience can have an even richer multimedia experience. To do this, navigate to the Cards pane and select Audio or go to the Insert pane and select OneDrive or My Device as your content source, and then insert your audio files. Please read, “Add video and audio files into Sway“ to learn more.


New styles

Finally, we recently added a new set of styles that give your Sways a more holistic and striking visual aesthetic. Apart from adjusting your color palette and font, you can now apply vibrant filters to the photos in your Sway—making for more visually impactful outputs. You can find the new styles by navigating to the Design pane and selecting from any of the styles on the top row.


We hope you enjoy using the newest features in Sway, and as always, we look forward to your suggestions, feedback and comments on our UserVoice page.

Sway featured story #3—Planet Labs

Last March, we kicked off our Sway featured series, where we showcase remarkable people and inspirational stories in the Sway medium. Our first story featured Nathan Sawaya, world renowned artist, who pushes the bounds of what LEGO blocks can do in his creative masterpieces. Our second Sway told the story of the Greens, a courageous family who used their personal experience with cancer to open up difficult yet much needed conversations around death and loss.

For our third story, we are pleased to feature Planet Labs, a San Francisco–based startup with the mission to send tiny satellites into space to take detailed imagery of earth. Started in a garage and co-founded by a former NASA engineer, the team continually develops groundbreaking technology that allows them to not only take documentation of our planet on a daily basis, but also to make this information instantly accessible to partners.

Sway featured story 3 - 1

Planet Labs’ lineup of satellites that take detailed images of earth.

As one can imagine, Planet Labs’ shots have a wide variety of applications that impact various sectors of society. In 2015, Planet Labs’ imagery were able to identify two towns hit by the Nepal earthquake that wouldn’t have received assistance otherwise. As Matt Ferraro recalls in our Sway, “We helped in a real material way. When I got the news for that, I just cried.” Julie Pecson recounts how their photos enabled the Peruvian government to combat illegal deforestation and gold mining. In our interviews, it’s clear that the team has developed a greater perspective of how the world—and humanity—is interconnected, giving them a deeper appreciation of the wonders of our planet.

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Planet Labs’ satellite images of Istanbul, Northern Cape Province and Bamako.

We hope you enjoy our Sway on Planet Labs, and have as much fun as we did marveling at the story behind their technology and the striking images they’ve shared of our world—captured by satellites orbiting in space.

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Sway design tips and new templates

Sway just passed its one-year mark, and we are very inspired to see millions of users from all over the globe using Sway in their work and personal lives. We hope to serve even more people by delivering on our promise to make it effortless to create and share content with colleagues, family and friends.

To achieve this goal, our team takes user feedback to heart—constantly testing and iterating on our user experience. Since we’ve received numerous requests to show you how to navigate through Sway’s style features, we thought it would be helpful to publish some tips to help you make the most out of Sway.


First, let’s begin with our new Portfolio template as a sample Sway. Sway templates start you off with a color palette, layout and sample content. If you like the first combination you see, you can move on to the other tips below. But if you were looking for something different, click the Remix button on the top navigation bar and Sway will give you various combinations to select.

Here is a sample of different combinations you can get by pressing the Remix button a few times:

Sway tips and templates 01

As you can see, the color scheme, font and layout all dynamically change and the differences become more apparent when you scroll through the Sways. The idea here is similar to having a designer by your side who whips up various styles options without you having to do a lot of work on your part.


If you want to be more deliberate in the way you change your Sway’s style, you can also click the Design button on the top navigation bar. This opens up a Design pane that shows you a preview of the various style combinations you can select. Styles in the same row differ in small ways, like font and background, while styles in different rows change more substantially, such as in layout and structure.

Customize (in Design)

Once you find a style that works for you, the Customize button in the Design pane offers you the ability to fine-tune specific elements in your Sway. For instance, you can change just the color palette—keeping the rest of the Sway format intact. You can also customize font styles, font size and degree of animation.


The last major style element you can modify is your Sway’s layout. The Portfolio template we started from employs a Vertical layout, where the document moves from top to bottom, much like how most web pages work today.

Sway tips and templates 04

You can easily switch the way your Sway flows. Simply select Layout on the top navigation bar and then select either vertically scrolling layout (top icon), horizontally scrolling layout (middle icon) or screen-by-screen, optimized for presentation layout (bottom icon).

Here is how the same Sway looks in Horizontal layout:

Sway tips and templates 05

As with all the other functions, Sway makes it easy for you to change your Layout in just a few clicks. The app does all the work of reformatting everything else—so you won’t need to spend hours moving around your sections, text boxes, images and other content.

Undo/Redo and Duplicate

As you work on getting to your ideal Sway, don’t forget to use the Undo and Redo buttons on the top navigation bar in case you change your mind about some style changes. And if you want to use a particular style for all your Sways, you can use the Duplicate this Sway function in the section to create a copy for future use.

Photo tips

As a bonus, these last few tips are easy ways to make sure your photos show up great. First, you can set how Sway displays your photo by clicking on the image or image card, selecting Focus Points and then selecting the parts that are most important to you.

You can mark specific areas in the photo that you want Sway to highlight or select The entire image is important checkbox. Sway automatically adjusts how your photo shows up and emphasizes certain areas based on your selection.

Second, you can select different sizes for your photos by clicking the image card and then selecting either Subtle, Moderate or Intense. Subtle will use the smallest image size, Moderate the medium image size and Intense the largest image size that will still look good with the rest of your Sway.

Sway tips and templates 07

Lastly, you can Group your text, photos and other Sway cards when you want them to show up together in specific ways. In the example below, we first picked the photos we wanted to group together by selecting the checkboxes at the lower right of the cards. Next, we clicked the Group button, which opened up the Group Type pane, and selected the second Slideshow from the pane. The Sway preview shows you how the photos are instantly grouped together in a left-to-right Slideshow, with a preview bar at the bottom.

Sway tips and templates 08

New Sway templates

We recently released several new templates to help you get started on your Sway. They’re currently available on the My Sways page in the Sway web app. Some of our favorites are featured on our new Land your dream job site. We partnered with careers expert Maxie McCoy to create free resume, portfolio and blog post templates to help aspiring job hunters, artists and writers land their dream jobs—or simply have another great way to showcase their work.

We hope you find our tips useful and have learned a bit more on how to make the most of your Sway. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on how to further improve our app in the Sway UserVoice.

—The Sway team

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Sway accessibility milestones

The Microsoft mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and we on the Sway team take this mission to heart.

We built the Sway app to make it easy to bring in content from multiple sources, so you can convey a richer story with photos, videos and other multimedia. Our built-in design engine instantly puts your creations into cohesive layouts and designs, so you don’t have to spend hours on formatting. And our digital format makes it easy to share your Sway with a link and ensures that it adapts to different screens.

On top of these, we’ve been working on several features to help users with vision, mobility and cognitive impairments use Sway in their personal and work lives. All of the following enhancements are now available on the Sway web and Windows apps.

Accessibility Checker

We’re excited to launch the Accessibility Checker to help authors:

  • Identify images or videos with missing alternative text.
  • Review and update all alternative text.
  • Review and update all non-descriptive hyperlinks.

The Accessibility Checker opens up to the left of the Storyline area, so you won’t have to switch back and forth while composing your Sway and checking its accessibility.

This is a screenshot of the Accessibility Checker opened up to the left of the Storyline area of the Sway app. A purple dot is placed on the Accessibility Checker pane for illustration purposes. The Checker features the heading Review all alternative text. It is showing a photo, followed by the Alternative text box with the description, two purple succulent plants sit on a textured floor while a third sits in a white box. The bottom of the photo is set to 1 of 7, with arrows to scroll through the rest of the 6 photos, for easy access to the alternative text for the rest of the images in the Sway.

Sway will automatically use existing alt text when you import images from Word, PowerPoint, PDF and online sources. It will also use file names as alt text when you upload photos from your local drive.

Keyboard enhancements

Everything that you can do with a mouse or with touch, you can now do with a keyboard.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Use Ctrl+F6 to move among different areas in Sway, such as the menu bar, the left side pane, the Storyline area and the Preview mode.
  2. Click the tab or the arrow keys to move across a given area.
  3. Press Enter when you find the function you need.

The boxed outline in the example below helps you find your keyboard’s current focus:

A screenshot of the Group function is displayed, showing the 5 grouping styles available to Sway users today: Automatic, Stack, “Comparison, Slideshow and Grid. The keyboard focus is on Comparison so that the Comparison button is surrounded by a boxed outline within the product and highlighted by a purple dot for purposes of illustration.

You can refer to this handy list of keyboard shortcuts for Sway.

High Contrast mode

We also made a number of enhancements for users who work in High Contrast mode, including:

  • Icons are converted into glyphs to make symbols and text clearer.
  • Borders are bolded to help identify different sections in Sway.
  • Dotted outlines pinpoint your keyboard’s current focus.

Here is how Sway looks in the improved High Contrast mode:

A screenshot of Sway in High Contrast mode is showcased, with the background set to black, the main navigation menu in white, and the main borders in the body in yellow.

Accessibility View

We’ve reached out to several people to ensure that we keep improving the Sway Accessibility View for our users. Today, it enables a variety of helpful functions, including:

  • It enables assistive technology to access all of your Sway’s content and provide you with jump locations.
  • It changes your Sway’s color scheme to black and white to provide you with higher contrast.
  • It switches Sway to vertical scrolling to make it easier for you to navigate your Sway with assistive technology or with a keyboard.

We’d love to learn more about how we could further improve this view on our Sway UserVoice page.

Storyline expansion

Additionally, we’ve heard from users that you want to be able to see more of your content when creating a Sway. As such, we’ve enabled the ability to expand the Storyline area (and hide the Preview mode), so you can have a more focused and maximized authoring canvas:

A Sway is shown in the regular authoring mode, with the Cards pane to the left, followed by the Storyline area in the center and the Preview area to the right. A purple dot is placed on the arrow between Storyline and Preview for illustration purposes.

A Sway is shown in the expanded authoring mode, with the Cards pane to the left, and a maximized Storyline area taking over the rest of the app. The Preview area is hidden from view entirely for a more focused authoring experience.


To help authors quickly move around and find things in Sway, we’ve added the ability to search for content in the Storyline area. Simply navigate to the search icon at the top of your Storyline, input your keywords and press Enter.

A Sway is shown with a search bar at the top of the Storyline. The letters Port are entered in the search bar, and these letters are highlighted in yellow in the word Portfolio in the Storyline.

Viewers can also access this feature by switching to Accessibility View and clicking Find.

A Sway is shown in viewing mode with a menu expanded out from the three-dot ellipses button on the top right of the Sway. The menu displays several functions, the sixth of which is the Find feature. A purple dot is placed on Find for illustration purposes.

Assistive technology (including screen readers)

Finally, Sway is now aligned with the accessibility standards of WAI-ARIA, so you should have an overall improved experience when using your favorite assistive technology with the app.

We would love to hear more of your suggestions on how we can improve Sway’s accessibility. Please send us your thoughts on our UserVoice page.

For more resources on Sway accessibility, please refer to the following guides: Sway accessibility, Sway Windows app for Office 365 VPAT and Sway web app for Office 365 VPAT.

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3 new Sway capabilities for Office 365 subscribers

In the 10 months since Sway’s general availability, we’ve seen great interest in our digital storytelling app, with millions of Sways created to date! We’ve seen music companies, design firms and small businesses use Sway for company presentations, client pitches and employee newsletters. We’ve watched teachers use Sway to advance student learning in dynamic and engaging ways in their classrooms. And Sway has become an easy and enjoyable way to share travel, dining and personal experiences with others.

We make sure to listen to the Sway community and continually add relevant and enjoyable experiences for you. As we work toward this goal, we are excited to release three new features for Office 365 consumer, work and education subscribers based on feedback we’ve heard from you. These features are now available in Sway on the web, and they will roll out to the Sway app for Windows 10 in the coming months.

Add passwords to Sways

Previously, Office 365 work and education customers have been able to limit sharing of Sways at the organizational level, so that only people in your company or school can view your creations. Starting today, all Office 365 subscribers can add an extra layer of privacy by setting passwords for your Sways. This ensures that only people with the password can view your work presentations, school reports or travel journals.

Password GIF

Enjoy enhanced content limits

We received numerous requests to be able to put more text, photos and other content in your Sways. And our own data shows us that our Office 365 subscribers typically create longer and more robust Sways with higher amounts of videos, tweets and other embedded content. So we’ve worked to increase the content limits for Office 365 subscribers so you can create longer-form works with more multimedia to convey a richer story in the boardroom, the classroom or your home.

Remove the informational footer in Sway

Finally, we’re enabling all Office 365 subscribers to remove the informational footer at the end of your Sway to help you achieve a more polished look. You can now tap the Share icon and uncheck the Show Sway branding in this Sway checkbox to create a more professional look for your creations.

Footer GIF

The Sway team is excited to provide ongoing value to our Office 365 subscribers and will continue adding new, exclusive Sway features over time. To learn more about monthly updates released across the Office apps for Office 365 subscribers, check out the New to Office 365 in June blog post. As always, we value your feedback and ideas, so please keep them coming in our Sway UserVoice.

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Sway featured story #2—“That Dragon, Cancer”

Last month, we kicked off our featured story series with our Sway on Nathan Sawaya. Nathan’s inventive use of LEGO blocks to create works of art strongly embodies Sway’s mission to provide an adaptable medium that empowers everyone to tell their stories in unique, innovative and delightful ways.

Our second piece features the profoundly moving story of the family behind the video game “That Dragon, Cancer” and the film “Thank You for Playing.” Ryan and Amy are the parents of Joel Green, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was just a year old. Ryan, a game designer, first began developing the game to express his feelings about their family’s struggles. Over time, it became the couple’s way to broaden the conversation about cancer, uncertainty and death. Amy notes that people almost never talk about these things, but they universally touch us all.

As a testament to the authenticity of their work, “That Dragon, Cancer” resonated strongly with people who had also experienced struggle and loss. They would come up to the couple and hug them or start talking about their personal battles. The gaming community picked it up and critics hailed it as “the most important game ever developed.” Players said it had just the opposite effect of other games, as it re-sensitized them to human emotions.

As admirers of the Greens’ works and generosity, we feel honored to have their permission to tell the story behind the making of “That Dragon, Cancer.” Readers will witness the couple’s journey from the very start of their struggles to where they are now. And it touches upon the many existential questions they grappled with while developing the game. We hope our medium does justice to its sights, sounds and motions, as well as the complexity of Ryan and Amy’s thoughts and emotions, and puts our viewers in the shoes of this remarkable and resilient family.

Add videos, choose your viewing experience and tell your story in more languages on Sway!

Last month, we came out with the ability to create Sways right from your Microsoft Photos albums and breathe life to your photos through Living Images. Thanks to your continuous feedback, we’ve added several features over the past weeks to make Sways even easier to create and more engaging for viewers.

Add video to your Sways

Whether it’s for your company newsletter, travel blog or classroom activity, video is one of the most dynamic ways to get your message across. That’s why we’re excited to announce that anyone can now add videos stored in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, YouTube and even your device to Sway. Whether you’re using your Office 365 or Microsoft account, you can simply click on the Insert tab, select OneDrive, YouTube or Upload from the drop-down menu and choose the video you want to use.

Looking to embed a video instead? You can do that just as easily with our growing list of supported sites, including YouTube, Vimeo and Vine. Just click on the Cards tab, select the Embed card and paste your video’s embed code. Your video will show up beautifully alongside other content, and you can even specify how prominently you want it to appear by choosing from the Subtle, Moderate or Intense options in the Video or Embed card.

Enhance your Sway viewing experience

A key part of our product vision is to make sure Sways look great no matter where or how they’re viewed. So, we launched the ability to choose the way you navigate a Sway. First, hit Play to go into viewing mode, then click on the icon that lets you change your navigation layout. You can choose to see a Sway horizontally, vertically or in the familiar presentation mode. We think this feature is pretty cool because we’ve learned that people have different preferences in the way they go through a presentation, report or story—and now anyone can personalize the way they experience a Sway.

We also heard that you want to be able to interact with photos when they’re in full screen on Sway, so we worked on a few ways to enhance this experience. Whether you use Sway on the web, Windows or iOS app, you can now zoom in on photos as well as navigate through groups of photos in full screen using touch, your keyboard or mouse. Try it now with the photo collections featured in the Art + Film Institute Sway:

14 new languages for Sway

The Sway team is working hard to make our beloved product available to as much of the world as we can. We’re proud to announce that we launched the following languages for Sway last month: Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, English (UK), Filipino, Hausa, Icelandic, Kannada, Kiswahili, Macedonian, Uzbek and Vietnamese. For a full list of languages available on each platform, please visit the Sway Knowledge Base.

As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback on how we can keep making Sway better for you!

—The Sway team

Sway featured story #1—”The Art of the Brick”

Part of Sway’s team mission is to empower everyone to bring their stories to life and captivate audiences through a medium that is dynamic, interactive and looks great on any screen. For this blog series, we partnered with Melcher Media to create exemplary pieces that make the best use of Sway’s fluidity and vibrancy—with the aim of showcasing subjects that we think are larger than life.

Our first featured Sway is on Nathan Sawaya, one of the most innovative and interesting artists in the world today. Nathan is likely the most cutting-edge LEGO artist out there and has created works for Lady Gaga, Bill Clinton and Warner Bros., to name a few. On top of noteworthy projects, Nathan’s global touring exhibit “The Art of the Brick,” pushes the boundaries of LEGO bricks as a creative medium and gives fans—both young and old—a new look into how creativity can unlock possibilities previously unseen.

We felt it fitting to partner with Nathan for our first featured story because his work embraces several of our team principles, such as working with new mediums and helping people tap into their creativity. We also wanted to exhibit how Sway is best-in-class at bringing together the different elements of his craft—through photos, videos, text and animations—into a cohesive narrative that hopefully brings justice to his story and his art.

For our loyal fans and first-time users, we hope you enjoy our piece on Nathan Sawaya: a fascinating look into the artist, his story and what keeps him going.

Sway Features series 1 1

Create your own Sway—free on!

—The Sway team

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Sway integration in Microsoft Photos helps you share your memories as interactive stories, Sway supports Living Images

Microsoft is all about empowering you to do more in your personal, professional or academic life. Windows and Office working together have always been core to our mission, and they continue to be an unbeatable duo to help you to get more done, quickly. Today, we’re announcing integration of Sway, our new digital storytelling app from Office, with the Microsoft Photos app. With this update, it’s easier and faster than ever to use the photos and videos on your Windows device to create and share polished, interactive stories of your adventures with family and friends. Read below if you want to know more, or also check out this blog from the Windows Photo team on this integration.

Create a Sway in one click from a Microsoft Photos album

Microsoft Photos brings together photos and videos from all your devices, enhances them to make great photos even better and then organizes them into beautiful albums for you. These albums offer a fantastic way to share digital memories with friends and family. However, sometimes the situation calls for adding a narrative around the individual images and videos you share with others. That is why the Sway and Microsoft Photos teams have worked together so you can send an album to Sway with a single tap or click. Now you can turn your album into a professionally designed personal story in minutes!

In today’s updated version of Microsoft Photos, when you navigate to a particular album, you’ll see the Tell your story with Sway button at the bottom. Tapping or clicking the button sends all of the images and videos in the album to Sway, which uses its built-in design engine to create a polished, interactive web-based story you can easily share with friends and family. It’s simple and intuitive to continue using Sway to build on the collection of images and videos sent from Microsoft Photos. Transform your images into interactive photo stacks, comparisons, slideshows and more with just a few taps or clicks. Use structure, sections and text to create a story arc and enhance your narrative flow. Add a variety of other interactive multimedia, such as maps, tweets, Vines, charts and more. Now you have something engaging and dynamic to enhance the experience for your friends and family as they share your memories.

Turn your Microsoft Photos album into a professionally designed story in minutes with one-click Sway integration.

There are lots of scenarios in everyday life where you might create a story in Sway using photos and videos from Microsoft Photos. You might want to tell the story of that vacation you just took. Or maybe create a blog-style recipe for the delicious food you cooked (and photographed!) last night. Or add instructional guidance on top of images and video to share your expertise as you help others learn in a how-to narrative. The possibilities are endless—give it a try today!

Sway now supports Living Images

Sway also now supports Living Images from your Windows 10 device as a content type you can add to your creations. Living Images add motion and feel alive by capturing a bit of additional footage just before they are snapped. Including Living Images in a Sway can breathe additional life into your narrative. Living Images also pair nicely with other interactive multimedia you can include in Sway to enhance your story and make it more engaging for your audience. Adding Living Images from your OneDrive or your Windows 10 device is easy—just drag and drop or upload right from the Insert tab. You can now bring Living Images from your Microsoft Photos albums into all Sways you create with this new Tell your story with Sway integration.

Living Images can breathe additional life into your interactive Sway stories.

Get the updated version of Microsoft Photos today and start telling your story with Sway! If you have never used Sway, an account will be created the first time you use this integration in Microsoft Photos. Of course you can also create an account at We’ll keep working on more updates to Sway. If you have any feedback, drop us a line on UserVoice!

Sway team, @Sway

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Sway adds access to “Recent” Office documents, support for Power BI and embeds, text editing updates and more!

As part of our goal to take your feedback and make regular improvements to Sway, we’re excited to announce a number of new updates. Regular monthly updates are part of our commitment to develop Office as a cloud service, so please send us your ideas and questions on our UserVoice page if you want to get involved in making Sway better.

Last month, we introduced the Recycle Bin, Send to Sway for OneNote and more. This month, we have another set of updates to help you more easily find your content, embed new forms of interactive material, adjust text in new, intuitive ways and more. Read on for the details.

Bring Recent Office doc content from your OneDrive to your Sways

You’re already enhancing your Sways by embedding or importing content from your OneDrive or PC. To make it easier to leverage your most recent documents in Sway, we’ve added a Recent view of your Office content stored in OneDrive. It’s now easy to find documents sorted by work you’ve done most recently and then drag and drop them right into your Sway.

Perhaps you want to embed an Excel sheet you just worked on or import the content from the collaborative Word doc you created with classmates. Simply tap or click the Insert tab, select OneDrive from the drop-down and select Recent. Click here for more information on the difference between embedding or importing content from documents.

The Recent documents list also roams with you in the left navigation pane of OneDrive and individual Office applications, such as Word. You can use it now in Sway when you’re signed in with a Microsoft account. We’ll make it available soon for OneDrive for Business when you sign in to Sway with Office 365 work/school accounts. Stay tuned for more!

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Use the Recent list under OneDrive to find your recent documents in OneDrive and embed or import the content to enhance your Sway.

Add Power BI and embeds to enhance your Sways

We’re continuing to expand the list of supported third party web content types you can include in Sway, a part of our goal to grow the variety of interactive multimedia you can include in Sway to help communicate your ideas. Sway already supports a number of web content from other services, such as videos, images, audio clips, maps, documents, Office Mixes and more. Now we’ve added support for two more content types in response to top user feedback requests:

  • Power BI reports—Pull in powerful, visual and interactive analytics to your internal or external Sway business reports, presentations, newsletters and more by including Power BI data visualizations and dynamic, sophisticated dashboards. This helps continue to address popular requests to expand Sway support for charts and graphs.
  • live polls—In response to a popular request, particularly from teachers, now you can add a live poll to your class lecture or stage presentation. Simply set up a poll, embed it in your Sway and then ask your audience to respond via the web or text message. Watch as the poll in your Sway updates immediately with live results!

We’ll keep expanding the list of supported embed types in response to your feedback, so keep it coming! In the meantime, check out this help article to see the full list of supported sites and more details. And swipe horizontally through this Sway to see an example of an embedded Power BI report:

Now you can embed powerful interactive data visualizations from Power BI into Sway to tell your organization’s story with rich analytics (scroll through the Sway to view).

Embed your Sways across the web more easily

We made it easier for you to embed your Sways alongside other content on sites across the Internet, such as blogs, professional websites and more. Sway is now supported by and oEmbed, enabling you to easily transform links into embedded content. This means that if you want to embed a Sway on a web page you’re creating with a third party service that supports or oEmbed (such as, you can simply paste the Sway URL. The Sway is embedded on the web page without you having to copy and paste a longer, iframe-formatted embed code.

Of course, you can still get iframe-formatted embed code for any Sway you view by tapping or clicking the Share icon, selecting Get embed code and then copying and pasting the iframe embed code into a site that supports or requires embeds in that format. In fact, that’s how we’ve embedded the Power BI example Sway above in this blog.

It’s easier to adjust text in your Sway in multiple ways

Sway’s design engine creates polished, professional designs in minutes for your content. We made it easier, more natural and intuitive to specify your intentions to Sway on how to adjust the formatting for your text.

Use full text editing features in Preview mode—You could already make text edits right while you work in Preview mode, but now we improved the experience by adding the full set of text editing options already available from the Sway Storyline. While in Preview, simply tap or click a set of text and select Edit to display the editing box. Whether you’re making a quick tweak or crafting longer-form text right on the Sway canvas, this update helps you work faster, in context.

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It’s easy to make quick edits to a Sway directly in Preview mode with the full set of text editing options.

Emphasize an entire text CardSway already lets you emphasize specific words or phrases in a text Card to make them stand out. Now we’ve made it easy to use one tap or click to emphasize an entire text Card with additional visual styling to make it stand out even more, beyond what you could do by manually highlighting and emphasizing all of the text in the Card. Simply select the larger emphasis icon (next to the delete icon) to emphasize the entire text Card. This also works for easily emphasizing any other type of Card as well.

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Select the larger emphasis icon to add additional visual emphasis styling to an entire text Card.

Adjust the text size for your entire Sway—Now it’s possible to adjust the overall text size in your Sway wholesale, while still respecting relative adjustments you’ve made in individual text Cards. In the Design tab, select Customize and then adjust the Text size slider as desired.

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Adjust the overall text size in your Sway wholesale with the Text size slider.

Sway for Windows 10 PCs/tablets update available soon

We’re continuing to update Sway for Windows 10 PCs/tablets. Another updated version will soon be available to download from the Windows Store, which includes the following improvements:

Recycle BinWe brought a Recycle Bin to Sway on the web last month and soon you will be able to access it in Sway for Windows 10 as well. Any Sways that you delete are moved to the Recycle Bin, so you can recover them again for up to 30 days.

Full-Screen improvements—Now when you press Play and present or view a Sway in full-screen mode, your device won’t go to sleep. This can be particularly helpful when you’re presenting a lecture in front of a class or on stage!

Text editing improvements—Just like in Sway on the web, you will be able to access full text editing options while in Preview mode, emphasize an entire text Card and adjust the relative font size for your entire Sway using the Text size slider. See above in this blog for more details.

Miscellaneous—We’re making additional bug fixes.

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Sway for Windows 10 will include a number of new capabilities, including the Recycle Bin.

Look out for the updated Sway for Windows 10 PCs/tablets or try out these updates in Sway on the web today! We’ll keep the improvements coming—stay tuned for more Sway blogs and follow Sway using the info below. And of course, please keep the great feedback coming on UserVoice! We love hearing how you use Sway, as well as what you’d like to see us do to improve it.

Sway team, @Sway

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