Microsoft PowerPoint is a program which offers users the ability to create presentations to display information. PowerPoint come with a wide range of templates for a number of different kinds of documents which can be used to customise the way in which information is presented on the slides. This allows staff to focus their time on the information and data rather than on formatting.
PowerPoint has been the traditional presentation software in the Microsoft Stack for a number of years, and is considered to be ‘Business Standard’ in many organisations.
Presentations can be created using a wide range of options, utilising media such as images, GIF’s, tables/charts, audio, videos, etc. Different viewing effects are also available, to create a richer display for viewers to gain further information from.
Presenters can keep track of their notes, which are only visible on the device that the presentation is being displayed from; viewers of the presentation cannot see these.
Using Office365 through a browser, presentations can be created, edited, viewed and shared. It’s also possible to have collaboration on a presentation by multiple people in ‘real-time’
PowerPoint can be used in a number of different effective ways to communicate with your audience. Slides are completely customizable to fit your needs. Depending on your approach, you may want to have a presentation that is text-heavy, image-heavy or some combination of both. Text-heavy presentations are generally good if you are giving a lecture to a group within your company and want them to take notes. Image-heavy presentations can help to make your presentation more conversational in style since there only visual cues. Combining the two approaches gives listeners the benefits of both visual aids and notes.
Although PowerPoint is normally the go-to application for producing presentations, Microsoft has another application which is focused towards enabling users to easily create more engaging presentations, with an emphasis on telling a story rather than presenting a topic.
Sway is a presentation software which enables users to create a range of different documents, such as newsletters, business presentations, portfolios and reports. Although Sway and PowerPoint have many of the same functionalities and capabilities, Sway is Microsoft’s attempt to provide users with a more user-friendly application that focuses on creating content that will engage audiences through telling a story. The emphasis on telling a story rather than creating a presentation means that Sway guides users to create a storyline and narrative, rather than individual, segmented slides of a presentation.
Sway comes with a number of in-built templates to help begin the process of creating presentations, or ‘Sways’. This enables users with non-design backgrounds to easily create Sways that are both visually striking and engaging. If users cannot find a template to start with, they have the option of searching a topic and Sway will produce an outline of a Sway based on this topic for them to use.
It helps gather, format, and share reports, newsletters, web pages, and presentations on an interactive, web-based canvas that that presents well on almost any screen. The collaboration allows you to invite others to be able to edit the story as well in ‘real-time’. It’s also possible to include videos (eg YouTube) and other content from external sources.
Sway is exclusively cloud-based and a free version is available to all users with an Outlook account. An upgraded version is also available in most Office 365 subscriptions for Home and Business.
Presentations can be published to external (public-facing) websites, and include analytics that will show you how many people have viewed it