What is it?

Sway is a creative online presentation tool that can be used to share reports, presentations and personal stories.

How might I use it?

Potential uses for Sway include creating engaging online presentations, newsletters and team updates.

A Sway can be started from a blank outline, a template or from an existing PDF, Word or PowerPoint document. This is particularly useful if you have pre-made documents that you want to adapt for a different purpose and enriched with media. It is possible embed a range of media such as images, video and audio within Sway. Similarly, it allows you to embed documents from OneDrive or your local drive.

Sways can be shared via a URL or embedded as an iframe, as a result there is no need for viewers to download a document. You can set a Sway to be viewed by certain groups (such as only those in your organisation) and even set a password for viewing and editing.

How do students use it effectively?

Sway could be used by students to present information on a topic. This can be done both individually and collaboratively, as Sways can be edited by several people by changing the sharing permissions. This is particularly useful if a student has media-rich information to share such as multiple videos and images. As Sways exist online, they can be shared via a URL or embedded into a website or blog rather than uploaded or emailed.

What are the pros & cons?

  • Sways can be created from templates and existing documents.
  • It is straightforward to embed media (such as copyright-free images and YouTube videos).
  • You can share with individuals, just within the organisation, or with anyone on the web.
  • You can present information in an eye-catching way with little prior-knowledge of content design.
  • It is simple to adapt the design by making use of themes.
  • Sways can be duplicated.
  • Basic analytics such as view count and average read length can be viewed.
  • Swys can be viewed on mobile/tablet devices without losing any functionality or affecting their format.
  • Sways can only be edited and viewed online.
  • They are not as customisable as a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Some time will need to be invested to familiarise yourself with the design process, especially when starting from a blank Sway.
  • A Sway exists only in the cloud, therefore it is not possible to save a local copy with interactivity (although you can download a copy as a Word document or PDF). Also, a Sway may not be viewable if the owner moves or deletes it. Therefore it may not be suitable to use Sway for summative assessment (contact the TEL team if you wish to discuss ways to use Sway for assessment purposes).

Further reading

What is the difference between Sway and PowerPoint?


Microsoft have produced an overview of accessiblility features in Microsoft Sway and guidance for producing your own accessible Sway.

Further training and guidance

How to Sway

Complete an online course on Microsoft Teacher Academy (log in with your University of Bath username and password to track progress) Digital storytelling with Microsoft Sway

How to create a Microsoft Sway presentation

View an example Sway: Microsoft Accessibility Features.


  • Engaging Learners
  • Review and Reflect


Microsoft Sway help documentation

University of Bath - Learning Pathways help page

Microsoft Accessibility features

Copyright information

Bath Blend Baseline

UK Professional Skills Framework


For advice on using Microsoft Sway to enhance learning, teaching and assessment contact the TEL team: tel@bath.ac.uk

For technical queries about Microsoft Office 365 contact DD&T