SEATTLE – Microsoft is hoping to Sway a few more people with its new presentation tool.
The company on Wednesday was set to take the "preview" label off Sway, the design and presentation app introduced last year.
Business users of the Office 365 Web-based productivity suite will see Sway appear alongside Word, Excel and other Office applications. Preview versions of the tool, already included among the free-to-use Office Online apps, will stay there for consumers to use. The company is also releasing a Windows 10 app to accompany the apps that were released earlier for Apple devices.
Chris Pratley, the general manager of the Sway engineering team, compares the idea behind Sway to Internet radio service Pandora, which builds algorithms based on users' selections to come up with music recommendations.
Similarly, in Sway, users don't have to select text point sizes or crop photos. Instead, they tell the software to emphasize portions of text, focus on a portion of a video clip, or group images together. Sway takes care of the rest.
The goal is to get users to "focus on the story and the content and the relationships, rather than the nitty-gritty of the tool you're using," said Pratley, a veteran of Microsoft's Office team.
Sway lets users embed source material from a wide range of the media common on the Web — Twitter posts, YouTube videos, pictures from cloud storage or a computer or Flickr. The software automatically adjusts presentations for viewing on a desktop monitor or smaller screen.
The intended simplicity of Sway contrasts with Office stalwarts like Word and Outlook.
"Isn't it amazing we had to learn about fonts and point sizes and leading and all that?" said Pratley.