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Windows 7: Sway Preview expands and delivers more feature improvements

15 Dec 2014   #1
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 
Sway Preview expands and delivers more feature improvements

Quote:
Sway Preview is all about working with you, our customers, to help continue improving the product and shape Sway’s future together. We’ve been making progress, including the addition of Bing Image Search and Suggested searches earlier this month. Today we have more exciting news to share!

Expanding Sway Preview: no waiting

It’s been only 10 weeks since we kicked off Sway Preview, and we’ve already had over one million unique visitors to Sway.com and over 175,000 requests to join, and those numbers grow by thousands daily. We’ve been delighted to see what people have made with Sway so far, including a teacher’s discussion of collaboration, an author’s trailer for her new book, and a backpacking trip recap. And we’re excited to see what the next wave of people will make with Sway.

That’s one of the reasons why, starting today, we’re expanding Sway Preview. Now anybody can be a part of Preview and start creating Sways immediately by signing in with a Microsoft Account–no more waitlist. If you haven’t tried Sway yet, visit Sway.com and get started! If you’ve been patiently waiting for an invite, we’re ready to have you get started right away by visiting Sway.com and signing in.


Visit Sway.com and click Get started! to start making Sways!

Of course, Sway is still in Preview, which means we still want your help shaping Sway’s future by working closely with us while we continue building the product. Now that there’s no waitlist, there are a whole new set of interesting things we’re ready to learn from Sway’s unrestricted growth and usage. Please continue to post your feedback on UserVoice so we can continue to shape and improve Sway together.

Improving Sway by learning from you

While we’re excited about the next wave of feedback and learning we’ll get from expanding the Sway Preview, we’ve already received a ton of great input so far and we’ve been hard at work updating the product. Some of these—like undo and redo—are features we had planned to add, but your feedback helped validate getting them done more quickly. Here are some of the great new features that have just rolled out to Sway recently.

Undo and Redo

By far the most-requested feature we’ve received has been the ability to undo (and its counterpart, redo) actions one has taken in Sway, both during the course of normal work with Sway, as well as when giving the Remix! button a spin. We’re excited to announce that undo and redo are here! Now you can make your changes without worrying about recovering a previous state of your Sway.


Undo/redo is here and works for the Remix! button as well as other edits.

Bullets and Numbering

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback for more text editing controls you’d like to have to enhance the way you tell your narrative. So, we’ve added bullets and numbering to our text tool bar, which appears at the top of the Storyline when you’re in a text card. Also, with bullets and numbering implemented, Sway will automatically go back and look for existing Sways where you used mark-up as a workaround for bullets (such as the asterisk * at the start of a line) and convert them to real bullets.


The text tool bar is expanding with the addition of bullets and numbering.

Editing Text on the Canvas

When we announced Sway in October, we discussed how easy and intuitive it is to adjust and customize your Sway right where you work. For example, when looking at your Sway, you can make a picture stand out by tapping or clicking it and using the star icons to emphasize it. Sway takes your natural feedback and work its magic to update your creation almost instantly.

Sway already lets you edit headings and captions from the canvas by tapping or clicking them and editing them right in place. Now you can also edit paragraphs of text from the canvas in the same way. Simply tap or click and select Edit and then make your edits in the moment. It’s easier than ever to make your tweaks and continue creating with Sway!


To edit a paragraph of text from the canvas, tap or click and select Edit.

Once you’ve selected Edit you can edit the paragraph’s text directly on the canvas.

Reordering sections more easily

We’ve also been working on other enhancements to make the creation process as smooth as possible. Now, you can reorder sections more easily. Use touch or your mouse to simply grab a section where it says “Section” at the top, or any part of the section border, and then drag the whole section where you’d like to move it. Sections will automatically collapse when you drag them to make them easier to move.


It’s easy to drag a section to reorder it in the Storyline.

Importing a PDF into Sway

We’ve also heard requests to be able to import a PDF directly into Sway. Now you can use content from your PDFs along with other multimedia to bring your ideas to life. From your “My Sways” page, tap or click the Import button, select a PDF and a new Sway will be created with the content from that PDF as its basis. Or, while working on an existing Sway, choose the Upload option and select a PDF to have its content incorporated into that part of your Sway.


On your “My Sways” page, select Import and choose a PDF to use to start a new Sway.
Or, choose Upload while working on an existing Sway.

Improvements to the Color Picker

Sway acts like a digital design assistant in many ways, so you can produce a great-looking design with ease. As one example of this intelligence, since October, Sway has been able to generate a color palette for your Sway, based on an existing image you specify. Since then, we’ve heard feedback that you wanted more variety in the way color is used in your Sways.

So we’re rolling out improvements to our color palette algorithms to help you better personalize your Sway. In the next few days, you’ll start to see a lot more color palette options when you choose the Curated option. Or, if you pick an image as inspiration for your color set, you may receive an additional choice with a more dramatic impact on your Sway’s overall look and feel. You will also begin to notice that some color palettes can also have a subtle effect on the background color of your Sway. A small number of people might also see existing Sways updated with a subtle background as a result. You will be able to find all of the latest with color palettes by selecting Mood and then Color. Check it out in the coming days and see what colors inspire you!


In the Mood panel, select Color to choose between Curated colors and images you can use to inspire the color of your Sway.

Sway for iPhone now available in Australia

A few weeks ago, we began the rollout of our first mobile app by launching launching Sway for iPhone in New Zealand. We started with this single market to engage more closely with our customers, respond to initial reactions and improve the app experience before starting to make it available in more markets.

As of today, an updated build of Sway for iPhone is now available in Australia and folks in New Zealand can download the update. This updated build includes some key improvements based on listening to customer reactions to the first version. Updates include:
  • Offline support—now you can start creating Sways even if you have no Internet connection.
  • Support for adding background images for titles and section headers (like you can in Sway on the web).
  • Updated design to support iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices.
With these releases and more coming in the future, we have started a forum on a forum on UserVoice specifically for gathering feedback related to the iPhone app. We’ll continue making improvements based on your feedback as we head towards releasing it in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries soon. This will help us ensure that the Sway authoring experience works great on mobile devices before we go big in lots of markets. For more information about the updated version of Sway for iPhone, check out this Sway:

As you can see, we’ve been hard at work making Sway better and better for you! Stay tuned for more to come soon!

Sway team, @Sway
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