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Hands on with Microsoft Sway, the web-savvy, shareable content creator of the future

Mark Hachman | Nov. 10, 2014
Even in preview form, Sway is intriguing. Rough around the edges, it still shows off Microsoft's new emphasis on simplicity in creating shareable, rich documents.

I had forgotten that images can be loaded from OneDrive; in fact, if you add an image, a OneDrive pane pushes in from the left, with your stored image files already pre-populated. Maybe I'm easily impressed, but I found this delightful--I expected to have to wade through a Documents window.

Where I'd like to see a bit more robustness, however, is in text editing. Right now, there's no real way to change the font or italicize content. You can highlight text and "emphasize" or boldface it, but you can't do anything else to it, even with a Word keyboard shortcut like CTRL-I (for italicizing). There's no spell-checking, in case you use that. And while Sway includes and resizes photos, I'd like to see the text do a better job of wrapping around images.

Also, in keeping with Microsoft's new Web-centric, always-connected mantra, you can't print a Sway, only share them. That may limit its effectiveness in some circles. 

Otherwise, it's clear that this is a work in progress. With Sway, Microsoft is signalling that its developers are boldly choosing simplicity as a counterpoint to Office's hierarchy of menus and options. That's a commendable decision. Still, I think there's room to add more depth without complexity, and I'm intrigued to see what Microsoft can offer here. Even at this early stage, I'd recommend Sway. Sign up and try it for yourself.


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