May 21, 2024
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Sway vs PowerPoint: Which Presentation Software Will You Choose Next?

Sway vs PowerPoint: Which Presentation Software Will You Choose Next?

If you’re used to PowerPoint for presentations, it might seem like Microsoft created an unnecessary duplication called Sway. While both applications are powerful, they are not designed for the same purpose.

I’ve put up a quick comparison between Sway vs PowerPoint to help you decide the best software for your presentation projects.

Sway vs PowerPoint: Quick Overview

Sway is an intuitive and easy-to-use design program from Microsoft. It allows users to pull content from the web and different sources to create colorful stories, reports, presentations, and more.

The presentation software does not require any design skills. Sway is super easy to use, as long as you can drag and drop and have an internet connection.

PowerPoint is a household name when it comes to creating presentations. For most users, it is the go-to software for presentation due to its ability to create highly interactive and stylish content.

Microsoft designed the program with tons of features and powerful editing tools to create outstanding presentations, especially for corporate and business uses.

Sway vs PowerPoint: Main Differences

Comparing Sway vs PowerPoint is not a matter of which application is better. In fact, Microsoft did not develop the former to compete with the latter. Instead, Sway is a fully functional program designed to complement PowerPoint.

Of course, there are a few overlaps where you can use either program. But here are the main differences between the two programs.

Price and Access

Price is one of the biggest differences when it comes to comparing Sway vs PowerPoint. While both programs are part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, the Sway app is free for anyone with a Microsoft account. Users can access it either on the web or through the desktop and iOS versions.

On the other hand, PowerPoint must be purchased as a standalone license, an Office bundle, or as part of the Office 365 license.

Intended Purpose

Sway has a more relaxed or casual feel. The design makes it easy to create content for personal web-based consumption.

PowerPoint is more business-oriented. It comes with lots of professional-grade design features and functions to create formal-like content for both online and offline consumption.

Offline Usage

Although Sway is available as an iOS app and also comes in a desktop version, you can’t use it without an internet connection. It is designed to be a web-based program that can only be used with an internet-connected device.

Microsoft PowerPoint can be used both online and offline. But while other features will work just fine, you can’t search for online content and save projects to a Cloud location without an internet connection.


Powerpoint Interface

Sway features a simple drag and drop interface with only a few menus. The workspace is almost a blank canvas that allows the user to quickly add content and reorder them easily. To make things easier for the user, an auto-edit function called “Remix” is included to randomly suggest designs.

PowerPoint’s interface is more organized. Functions are arranged into ribbons and quite a number of tabs. The workspace is very professional, and mastering the program can take a while.


Sway Layout

Three layouts are available in Sway. These include:

  • Vertical: This layout lets your content scroll up and down like a regular webpage
  • Horizontal: You can continuously scroll sideways in this layout
  • Slideshow: This works like the typical PowerPoint layout

On the other hand, PowerPoint uses only the slideshow format to create presentations. But you can use special effects to make your presentation have a continuous feel. Transitions and timers are among the features that can automatically make your presentations flow seamlessly.


Powerpoint Templates

Sway has only a few templates compared to PowerPoint. Even the term “template” is too strong for what is available in Sway. A better term would be “Styles.”

You can control the overall design of your projects using the available styles in Sway. The good thing about them is they are fully customizable.

PowerPoint takes the lead when it comes to the sheer volume of templates available. This can simplify the process of creating professional-looking presentations.


Sway is a cloud-based program, so users can easily collaborate on projects simultaneously. Granting permission to edit is as simple as selecting “edit” when sharing the link to your project.

The collaboration feature is not available in the standalone version of PowerPoint. You can only work with multiple users at the same time if you use PowerPoint as part of an Office 365 license.


Sharing your Sway projects can be done in a few different ways. You can share your work with others by copying the link to your project and sending it through email or text. You can also share via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You can also choose to embed the link to your Sway in a webpage or even generate a visual link. In any case, you can control whether those you share with can only view or edit the document.

For PowerPoint, sharing your presentation depends on the version you are using. You can share via a link or email if you have an Office 365 license.

If you use the desktop version that is not connected to Office 365, you can only share your projects with others through email or other file-sharing methods.

You will need to save the presentation as a read-only file or at least convert it to a PDF if you don’t want others to edit it.

Final Verdict

Here’s the verdict in this Sway vs PowerPoint comparison.

PowerPoint is your best bet if you’re interested in creating content that needs a presenter. It is undoubtedly the king of the slide deck and works well for offline presentations in corporate or business environments. Working with graphs and charts? Go with PowerPoint.

On the other hand, Sway is the go-to application for creating interactive presentations that don’t require a presenter. Sway works well for users who work mostly online and is most suitable for casual browsing or personal web-based content.

You are likely better off with Sway if you plan to use online content like YouTube videos. Plus, it has the advantage of working well with both image-heavy and text-heavy content.

Written by
Jamie Keet
Verified by MonsterInsights