Office 365

Applies to: Everyone
Sway Logo

Do you have a story to tell or a presentation to share? What if you could seamlessly add photos, videos, files, and text without worrying about layout? With Sway you can do just that. It's a tool that helps you build interactive reports, presentations, and stories. It’s easy to add content with built-in suggestions for photos and videos. Using Microsoft Forms you can even embed a survey or quiz right inside your Sway. When you’re ready to publish you can get a link or code to embed your Sway within another page. Sways are either public or restricted only to C of I users.

The College is using Sway with Forms to power our online orientation for new students; check it out right here. From personal to professional to educational, Sway can help make your information stand out and engage viewers.

And, while we thought about making our own Sway about Sway it just seemed too meta. Microsoft has plenty of those already (check out the Learn More section for a sampling).

System Requirements

Since Sway uses interactive web pages and media you’ll need to have a modern web browser and a modern computer to edit Sways. Things will get a little slow otherwise. Viewing a Sway, though, takes less resources and works across computers, tablets, and phones.

Start a Sway

When you’re first starting a Sway there are a few options to choose from. You can of course start with a blank Sway and add every item you’d like. If you already have something you want to turn into a Sway, like a Word document, PowerPoint, or PDF, you can import it. Or, if you saw a Sway you really like you can make a copy of it and start there. This is extra useful if you’re working on related projects or want to have a unified theme.

Of course, you’ll have to be signed in to edit Sways. You’ll find the Sway tile in the Office 365 portal with the rest of your apps.

Building a Sway

Sways are based around a Storyline composed of Cards. Cards store the actual content, like text, images, video, Tweets, or charts, and define the flow of your Sway. You use the top toolbar and corresponding left menus to assemble a Sway and its Cards. Depending on which toolbar item is selected you’ll have a different menu of options. At all times a preview of your Sway is shown to the right of the Storyline. To see your Sway full-size just click Play in the top toolbar.


The Cards options is where you add and organize the Cards within a Storyline. For the basic items like text and images you can also add a Card directly to the Storyline by using the + icon. More advanced Cards are added through drag-and-drop from the menu. There’s also an option to add a group of Cards, where you can pick how to display several related Cards in ways like a virtual stack, comparison, or slideshow. You can add additional organization to your Sway by using the Heading card to offset new sections or types of content.

If you have something not listed in Cards, but you can get embed code, use the Embed card to add it. Forms are included in your Sway with this kind of card.


When a Card contains media, like a video, the Insert menu is used to pick what media is displayed. Insert attempts to recognize keywords in your Sway and suggests related content. To choose something that's not suggested click on the source dropdown in the upper left (usually labelled Suggested) of the Insert menu. Sway is linked to places like OneDrive, YouTube, and Twitter. Microsoft is working to add more integrations to places like Instagram and Pinterest, so if you want to use those make sure to pick the Add Source option and send your feedback. If you have your own file that’s not already in OneDrive you can insert it directly into your Sway with the Upload option.


The default Sway look is simple and clean. There’s a good chance it’s too simple and clean for you, though, so the Design menu is there to help. You can either click the Customize button to change your current theme or pick a ready-made one to jumpstart your creative process. You can tweak the color scheme, font, animation, and text size with any theme.


Your Sway can scroll vertically, horizontally, or be optimized for presenting in-person. Choose wisely, and choose here.


Not feeling it? Need a hand? Build your basic Storyboard and then hit Remix. Sway will rearrange itself and change up its theme for you. You can even enable this for people who view your Sway. They’ll have their own Remix button. Of course, you can turn this off if you want your format to be the only format.

Regret your Remix? Just hit Undo.


Ok, this isn’t technically part of the main tools, but it does have to do with building your Sway.

If you’re working with a team and plan to present your ideas with Sway you can get a special link that enables shared editing. Click the Authors button in the toolbar and then distribute the link it displays. If multiple people are working on the Sway at the same time the you’ll see the user count increase and clicking Authors will show who’s signed in and working.

Finalize a Sway

Once you’ve got a Storyline filled with content you’re ready to share your sway. You’ll want to make sure you preview it again to check for any errors or unexpected bumps. Hit Play in the top toolbar and walk through the whole thing to make sure it shines.

When you’re ready you can click Share and set your viewing options. You can get code to embed your Sway in another place, like Canvas, or a link that you can post or send. You can require that people have to sign in to see your Sway, allow it to be seen with the link, or allow it to display publicly where it can be read and indexed by search engines. If you need more advanced control over your Sway click “More options.” You can disable copying of your Sway, disable changing navigation and layout (Remixing), or hide the Sway name. You can also password-protect your Sway. This is a good middle ground between "share only inside the College" and "but I don't want it totally public, either."

You can instantly end all sharing by toggling the Share/Just Me switch at the top of the Share menu.

Got a question? Let us know so that we can fill out this section! Visit the Get Help menu and choose Contact Us.

Watch and learn with Sway tutorials from Microsoft.