The post below is by the Sway team, and originally appeared on the Office blog. We’re sharing it with our education audience because we’ve received a lot of positive and constructive feedback from teachers who have tried it so far, and also because these recent updates to Sway are reflective of the nature of that feedback.
When we announced Sway, we knew that people would want to work on standout class projects, eye-catching business reports, engaging vacation recaps, or more, together—it’s the way things are done now, right? But Sway up until now has been a tool for individual authors to create polished content in a new and interactive way to share with their audiences. However, we know you’ve asked for shared editing in Sway in our feedback channels (such as UserVoice), and that Office has delivered real-time editing and collaboration features for years, allowing people to work together to share their collective ideas. On top of that, we can’t tell you how many times that we on the Sway team have said to each other, “I wish I could work on this Sway with you!” So now we’re rolling out co-authoring in Sway!
Whatever you want to make, it’s easy to create and edit Sways with other people. Simply share an edit link with anyone you’d like to work with. When your family, friends, classmates or colleagues click the link and log in, your Sway will show up on their “My Sways” page, too (with an icon indicating it’s a shared Sway to help you all stay organized). They can edit the Sway just as you can—and at the same exact time as well. As always with Sway, your work is saved automatically as you go along. Sound good? Read on to learn more about how it works:
Invite others to edit a Sway you’ve created
In the top right, tap or click Share and select the new add an author icon to generate an edit link. Then copy the URL and share it via email, social media, or however else you wish—with however many people you want to work with.
Keep track of who is editing and who has access
It’s easy to check who has editing permissions to one of your Sways, as well as which Sways you can edit which have been shared with you by others. On your My Sways page, tap or click the shared Sway icon for any Sway to see who has access to edit it. You can also now tap or click the My Sways drop-down next to filter your view of your My Sways page to show just your own Sways, Sways that have been shared with you, or both combined.
If you’re editing a Sway at the same time as other people, you can also see a count of how many people are working on the Sway at the same time as you, and who they are! Also, you can see where in the Sway other people are editing so you can avoid stepping on each other’s edits (it’s like two people trying to use the same keyboard at the same time). You’ll see their initials show up next to whatever Card they’re currently editing.
If you do try to edit the exact same location that someone else is modifying, the last one to make an edit wins. Go ahead, try this at home! But then be nice and let people get their work done in peace.
Revoke editing permissions and remove other authors
As the original owner of a Sway, it’s easy for you to remove other editors and revoke all edit and view links to your Sway. Simply tap or click Share in the top right, select Need to revoke access? and then select Revoke All Shared Links. If you want to share editing or viewing links again, or with a new set of people, simply repeat the sharing process described earlier.
Make a copy of a Sway
We’ve also received a lot of requests from people who want to easily make a copy of a Sway, for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s because you want to copy that book report template you used last month, or create multiple versions of the same presentation (maybe one for each client you work with).
We think now is a great time to roll out the ability to copy a Sway, together with shared editing. Say you’re ready to work together, but you aren’t quite sure how the other people will change your lovingly-crafted Sway. Now you can make a copy of your Sway to preserve that original so you don’t have to worry. Making a copy is also the easiest way to make your second and third Sways once you have one you like! It’s also a great way to have a template Sway for future Sways you might want to create. For example, a teacher can now create a template report for his or her students to use as a basis for their work. When duplicating the template, Sway adds a personal copy to their account, without affecting the original.
To copy a Sway you’re editing or viewing, tap or click the … in the top right and select Duplicate this Sway. Also, on your My Sways page, simply tap or click the … for a desired Sway and then click or tap the middle icon, which looks like a stack of documents.
A couple fun things to try now that you can create and edit Sways with others
Live Swaying in class—Project a Sway in a classroom, and watch how a group of students can contribute their ideas to it together at the same time. We already know of teachers who have students each make their own Sways, and then collect these Sways together into a single Sway using the embed feature. Now students can add their work directly to a class Sway that can be shared with parents as easily as sending the link!
Capturing an event—Use Sway at an event to do a live blog with other attendees—it’s a new way to “cover” a conference in real-time while allowing letting others follow along who are not attending. Everyone in attendance can add to their section of notes and other authors can watch it update live while previewing the Sway!
Working together—Of course, try out working together on some of the most common scenarios: writing reports, designing projects, crafting proposals or piecing together presentations. We on the Sway team are using these collaboration features all the time now—including for our own telemetry reports, where we periodically make a copy to generate a record, yet keep the original Sway up-to-date with the latest information and analysis.
Try these scenarios out and give us feedback! Let us know what other collaboration scenarios you’d like to use Sway for. Drop a note on our UserVoice page so we can read the details, see what suggestions others have contributed, and vote on them as well!
What’s next for Sway collaboration features?
It’s been a fun journey building these collaboration features—check out this blog post for more background from our team. Of course, this is just the first step towards making Sway a truly collaborative app you can use to bring your ideas together with others’ using Sway’s canvas. We know we have more work to do, but in the spirit of Sway Preview we wanted to get this initial feature set in your hands right away and get feedback as early as possible.
We need your feedback to help fine tune the current collaboration experience and prioritize all the different potential improvements we could make. As always, contact us through UserVoice to let us know your thoughts and vote on ideas, or join in the conversation by commenting in UserVoice to tell us why a feature is important. We’re excited to hear from you!
—Sway team, @Sway