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Microsoft's Sway lets you share ideas on the web without any design skills


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Sharing ideas on the web is tricky. You probably want something more persuasive than a social network update, but it's usually overkill to design a whole web page just to get your point across. Microsoft may have reached a happy balance between the two with Sway, a new part of the Office portfolio that lets you publish content in a slick, web-native format without knowing a thing about code or design. All you do is write and pull in content, whether it comes from your device or internet sources like Facebook, OneDrive and YouTube; Sway automatically organizes it all into polished web layouts that adapt to any screen size. You can switch layouts to fine-tune your work and update projects over time. Think of this as a Medium-like authoring tool that handles much more than just articles -- it's possible to publish daily photo diaries, non-linear presentations and other pieces that would typically require a dedicated web editor or a specialized app.

Sway is launching as an invitation-only preview on the web, but Microsoft tells us that it's going to both expand the audience and the functionality very quickly. You should expect new features every couple of weeks, with feedback playing a big role in determining what comes next. The company plans to release an iOS app soon (Windows Phone and Android are coming as well), and you'll eventually have the option to post interactive charts and other Office 365 content. This won't necessarily replace an elaborate PowerPoint slide deck, but it could be good enough to get your classmates or coworkers to consider proposals that they'd otherwise dismiss out of hand.

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