Microsoft now has two presentation platforms, PowerPoint and the new entry, Sway. While both platforms allow you to present content for display, their purposes are profoundly different. Neowin had a chance to talk with David Alexander, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Sway, who placed a line in the sand about how these two products differ.
When you look at what Sway is trying to accomplish, present content in a modern way across multiple screens, it is easy to think that this is the next generation of PowerPoint. With PowerPoint having been around for years and many of us have burned into our brain horrible presentations where a speaker used slides as a crutch rather than an aide, Sway looks to be a fresh take on the classroom presentation.
But does Microsoft see Sway as the 'future' PowerPoint? Not quite. Microsoft sees a world where Sway and PowerPoint live side-by-side in the Office suite. Even though its easy to argue that the two products have overlapping capabilities, how they accomplish the goal of presenting content is quite different and has different use-cases too.
With PowerPoint, you have to bring the intent and the manifestation of that content but with Sway, your content is built around the design engine and its capabilities. What this means is that with Sway, you can create multiple-screened presentations quickly but are limited to the layout and designs built-in to the tool. With PowerPoint you have a blank canvas that we all know and (mostly) love but you have to create the entire process, although, you have compete control over every aspect of the presentation.
Because of Sway's functions, it acts more like a story telling app than a true presentation aide. By bringing in many different types of content, Sway can arrange them to create a story with the content that works across multiple devices. Because Sway has automated back-end mechanics, it is typically much faster for creating content over PowerPoint but again, you are confined to living within the pre-built tools of Sway.
Even though PowerPoint can work within the browser, it's s fundamentally different way of looking at content. While PowerPoint presentations can be interactive, for the most part, they are static compared to what Sway can create. And since a Sway can be shared in the browser and on any device, it has greater flexibility over PowerPoint.
When Sway reaches maturity and becomes a member of the Office family it will fill the gap that PowerPoint currently does not and never will because of how it was designed. Sway lives in the modern story-telling world and fits neatly into the Office portfolio to allow you to create cohesive cross-platform content without having to worry about how it will function on every device.