We use our digital assets in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations every day. They are in pitches to new clients. We create slides for the in-house boardroom meeting.
In a training session with new staff, we use visual aids. You ask, “A presentation program from Microsoft? That is PowerPoint, right?” However, there’s been a new kid on the block for a while now: Microsoft Sway. Let’s compare PowerPoint vs Sway.
You are an experienced PowerPoint user. Why should you change from the defacto standard? Do we have to limit ourselves and our creative expression to one program? Let’s answer some of these questions. Let’s start by taking a look at the key differences between the two offerings.
How does Sway differ from PowerPoint?
Microsoft develops both Sway and PowerPoint. So now you ask: “What is the difference between the two programs?” Moreover, “Is Sway is the younger, hip cousin of PowerPoint?”
These applications have two different types of user in mind. Sway is not a replacement! Instead, think of Sway as web-based PowerPoint. In short, Sway focuses on responsive design, shareability and collaboration.
The clean and minimalistic interface in Sway seems to indicate that this tool is intended more for content layout and storytelling than for the presentation of something incredibly important. Although, who said that the content can’t be incredibly important?
It will be useful for those who want to pay more attention to the story and its submission, rather than visualizing any data or reports. Among similar content constructors, there is ReadyMag.
PowerPoint has a completely different interface. It is more complex and loaded. It has more technical tools for creating certain visualizations of any reports. Initially, PowerPoint offers to create something quite complicated, it is noticeable even on the application logo, which displays a chart pie.
The main differences:
- Sway is free to use, you only need a Microsoft account to use Sway.
- PowerPoint is a licensed product, you need a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.
- Sway is web-based, with a Sway app from the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 devices.
- On the other hand, PowerPoint is cross-platform with both web and desktop applications for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
PowerPoint is relatively free-form – it integrates quite seamlessly with clipart, templates and content from other Microsoft programs. However, it still gives you the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want.
Sway, on the other hand, relies on content remixing. There are relatively few layouts and themes from which to choose. Consequently, you are limited to how deeply you can customize your content. Putting together a successful visual presentation, however, is fast and easy.
If you collaborate with fellow employees as part of your daily workflow, PowerPoint will prove to be a challenge. Unless you use the Office 365 version, you are bound to a desktop application. Only one person can edit a presentation at a time.
With an Office 365 subscription more sharing options are available. You can use emailing and links to share your work amongst colleagues. It often takes more time to complete work, saving files and emailing links.
Sway is web-based. It has a far better collaboration system than PowerPoint does. It allows more than one person to work on a presentation at the same time.
Sharing is straightforward. Users can share links and information on social media. You can also grant or revoke sharing for specific users with read-only and edit access.
Device agnosticism and accessibility
Sway’s designs are responsive and accessible. Even presentations designed on a desktop will scale on mobile devices or tablets. So, if you are looking to publish to a diverse audience, this is the better choice.
PowerPoint on the other hand, at this stage, is not yet as flexible as Sway. There are PowerPoint apps available for the mobile platform. Therefore, it would be unfair to say that PowerPoint does not support a mobile platform. It does, however, mean that it is more appropriate for use on PC laptops and tablets.
Both Sway and PowerPoint have their strengths and weaknesses. It is clear that both of these applications have a similar general purpose. Depending on the circumstance you might find that one better suits your needs over the other.
Use Sway when your presentation is image heavy or needs collaboration; you are presenting on the go or pulling lots of online content.
PowerPoint is your go to if you are building from scratch, integrate charts and graphs and have lots of customizations.
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