back to article Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function

Microsoft has released a preview of Sway, which the company says is a "brand new app in the Office portfolio." But what is it? Sway is a "way to express yourself and bring your ideas to life," Microsoft says. This kind of fluff is a poor way to define a product. Here is another try, from the same announcement: A “sway” is …

  1. hplasm


    What you do when pissed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sway.

      And there's no Undo function when you are pissed either, like for when you fall into the urinal in the pub bogs, or ram a broken bottle into someone's throat.

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Sway.

      "Microsoft has released a preview"

      So not final then. So not even beta. So how is this news? Must be a slow day in Reg Central...

  2. Omgwtfbbqtime

    Sounds like it's for gilding turds, but without the gold.

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    continuing the trend

    So, Powerpoint induced people to think and present facts in a particular way.

    Sway appears to do it all for them, so they don't have to bother with the thinking bit?

    I am simultaniously not impressed and very impressed. How did they do that?

    1. et tu, brute?

      Re: continuing the trend

      Don't worry, Microsucks does the thinking for you! No brains required anymore...

      1. et tu, brute?
        Thumb Up

        Re: continuing the trend

        Thanks for all the downvotes! :p

        Would be nice to know why though... is it because I renamed the company, or because said company seems to create more and more products that work like they think you should work, and don't give you the option to work like you want anymore?

        1. MrWibble

          Re: continuing the trend

          I suspect the downvotes are due to "Microsucks" - it makes you appear as a teenage dickhead.

          Hope that helps.

          1. hplasm

            Re: continuing the trend

            But if you use "Windows" they sic the DMCA on you.


            So Winblows, Microsucks etc seem to be legitimate alternatives...

        2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: continuing the trend

          Downvoted for Microsucks. Even I wouldn't use that one, dude.

    2. king of foo

      Re: continuing the trend

      PowerPoint did no such thing. I see my fair share of presentations and can guarantee that neither thinking nor facts have anything to do with the godawful mess that finds itself on screen most of the time. If you added up all the hours wasted by middle management types pulling together hideous presentations you could probably rebuild the Eiffel tower, to scale, out of lollipops sticks. After eating said lollipops. Mmmmm lollipops...

    3. Cipher

      Re: continuing the trend

      Vaguely reminded of HyperCard, but not nearly as cool. Maybe Danny Goodman could consult on this and improve it...

      1. Franklin

        Re: continuing the trend

        That was my impression, too. It's like Hypercard, only juiced with cloudy Web 2.0 goodness. Whee!

  4. James 51

    Sounds a bit like One Note, the next generation.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      @James51 That occurred to me too. It sounds fun, and interesting. But as with OneNote's slightly confusing way of organising stuff I suspect I'd end up using some third party version that works more easily. (Like I use Evernote now).

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Terry 6

        "....It sounds fun, and interesting...." Hmmmm, I think the intended market is the real "99%", as in the 99% of smartphone, tablet and PC users that aren't power-users, that don't want or know how to use PowerPoint or Photoshop, but want to quickly be able to put a 'slideset' together for a limited audience. I'm thinking the guy with his holiday snaps, the kids that that took a video with their phone of their mates falling off their skateboards, that kind of user. They just want to take some media items and quickly create a polished-looking article, using someone else's clever templates, that they can then stick on Facebook or the like, and have it look good on different types of devices without having to do any intelligent work up front. For that 99%, this is social media WYSIWYG-on-steroids, requiring minimal learning yet giving a quite pleasing output. It won't appeal to those photo-editor snobs that can spend half-an-hour discussing RGB values but they are the 1% that will pay out for a full Photoshop license. All in all it seems a quite interesting idea.

        1. Roo

          Finally, a decent replacement for SliTeX & WTF is with the down vores for Matty B? (was Re: Terry 6)

          "Hmmmm, I think the intended market is the real "99%", as in the 99% of smartphone, tablet and PC users that aren't power-users, that don't want or know how to use PowerPoint or Photoshop, but want to quickly be able to put a 'slideset' together for a limited audience"

          I know this is a Matt Bryant post, but it makes sense, it isn't insulting anyone and I can even agree with it. I really can't see any point in down voting it which makes me wonder WTF the down voting clowns are up to.

          Kinda weird seeing MS produce a SliTeX for the smartphone generation. :)

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Finally, a decent replacement for SliTeX & WTF is with the down vores for Matty B? (was Terry 6)

            Well yeah. Matty's comment seems pretty reasonable ( not short, but reasonable).

            Computers are for users.

            Not for the IT guys.

            And if the ordinary user can make a presentation this way, and it meets the purpose. Good.

            Most users probably need about 1% of the software functionality they have. And probably don't know how to use the rest.

            Even "Power Users" discover functions on a need basis. When they need to do something they find out how.

            So if "Sway" gives users a toy to play with, and they can use it, cool!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Agreed with the OneNote reference, but next generation?

      Check the OneNote website. It can already do everything this weirdness can.

      Providing contents based on the device its on? Check.

      Defining your own look & feel (even with the use of templates)? Check.

      Allow the use of bullet points to sum up your ideas? Check. (sway doesn't it seems)

      Separate between sections, cards and even notebooks? Check.

      Related to point 2: change the layout of a card? Check.

      Publishing your stuff into the cloud (OneDrive or Web app)? Check.

      Using an undo function? Check!

      OneNote next gen? I disagree. I'm more inclined to name this: "OneNote the cloud version". So basically selling us something which already exists, is slightly changed and (here's the cynic in me:) is most likely going to be a reason to charge more for the upcoming Office release.

      Also important: another attempt of getting people to move away from the traditional approach of storing their contents on their own computers or (home) servers and instead move to the "cloud". A development I personally consider to be very dangerous.

      For the record; that's coming from an Office fan ;) Although I'm still using 2010 to my satisfaction and have no need for the later products.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: @James51

        Or a cross between OneNote and the NSA's inbox...

      2. groberts116

        Re: @James51

        One Note Is part of Office and the complete application is on accessed and stored on your hard drive. I use Office 365 and the whole program is resident on my hard drive and if I choose to, I can save my Office files to One Drive, but the default file save is to my hard drive.

    3. keithpeter Silver badge


      By the end of page 1 of the article I was getting slightly worried - I was thinking what might be on page 2. Add cards within cards, a powerful search function, a set of 'agents' that allow you to do things like 'list all cards with 'do this next week' in the title dated a week ago', hyperlinks between cards? A powerful scripted export template?

      ...but no Tinderbox is safe. The only reason I would ever run Mac OS again...

  5. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    I think we now have to change the phrase 'Death By PowerPoint' to 'Death By Sway'.

    1. Paul Webb

      Given the state it's in...

      Perhaps that should be Dearth by Sway.

  6. Sealand

    So basically input something - anything - and Sway will decide what it is and lay it out as it can wherever it can? No undo and no adjustments possible?

    Sounds like a winner. How long before we see OpenSway on GitHub?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I'll wait for...


      As in 'just fall over, do not bend knees.'

    2. P. Lee

      re: How long before we see OpenSway on GitHub?

      We usually call it "HTML."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They just throw any shit out there, with the hope that it sticks.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah ..

    .. I'm not swayed (sorry).

    Let's get the day to day stuff working first, with real Open Standards and interoperability, and then I'll look at new crap. If I'm really, really bored and there is absolutely nothing on TV (not even ads).

  9. CaptainHook

    ​What, then, is Sway for?

    it's for the one thing it already does... forcing greater adoption of OneDrive

  10. harmjschoonhoven

    No Undo function

    I thought we had Twitter for that.

  11. David Lawrence


    ...I just felt a little bit of vomit in my mouth from reading Microsoft's description of this new cack. I think it was also caused by the nauseating aroma of bullshit that also emanated from my computer screen.

    I love the way that they say 'Sway is an exciting way of creating Sways which are really exciting'. Awesome. Their Marketing department needs a pat on the back for that.

    Must go now..... where's my bucket!!!???

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Microsoft wants to get away from the traditional idea of using a template

    And their idea is to remove all possibility of formatting altogether ?

    Wow, that sounds like it's going to work very well for the general public - when in the meeting, that is.

    Because I have never met a more pickier nitpick than the general public, Microsoft. Tell anyone that they can post something on the Internet these days and they're going to immediately want to see font options and paragraph options exactly like they see them in Word.

    And you can't even resize pictures ? Come on, it's almost 2015 already, wake up in there ! What are you trying to do, Microsoft, reinvent Edlin for the web ?

  13. andy 103

    I'll express not using it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sway is to software

    what apple is for hardw... oops, I meant, it's what MS surface is for mobile computing :)

  15. Peter Clarke 1


    So which Demographic is it aimed at? Adult? Teen? Pre-teen? Brain Dead? I'm-driving-but-I-have-this-great-idea?

    When will The Register be adopting this in the Comments???

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Demographic

      >So which Demographic is it aimed at?

      Manudjment. Funky new social-savvy media genius manudjment.

      Like that Nadella chap, ferinstance.

      1. A Twig

        Re: Demographic

        Our marketing department at work are going to love this - and I think this is precisely who it is aimed at - corporate branding zealots.

        No matter what content those irritating engineers and technical types put in, all those horrible to prettify graphs and tables, those CAD drawings - Sway will make it all conform to the pre-designed and expensively consulted image outreach campaign of the business.

        The it will expand to be the required format for all internal communications...

        It's a marcomms wet dream - no escape from the brand - ever...

      2. tony2heads

        Re: Demographic

        I'm waiting for The Bongster to comment on it

        1. John G Imrie

          Re: Demographic

          Comment on it. He proposed it when Satya Nadella came round for an afternoons relaxation in his sensory deprivation tank.

  16. Avatar of They

    I don't see a need so why design the solution.

    Reminds me of groove, and net meeting, and InfoPath, one note and all those other little office add ons that come out over the years, chew up RAM and HDD space, no one uses and no one cares.

    People only want the main three, (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) maybe access and publisher for the minority. They want to write, to add up, to show off and then maybe store some data and print pretty leaflets.

    Basically this is another way to promote 'cloud' and 'ipads', as it looks touch based interface and that horrible 2013 everything is 'square' look. And cloud based stuff just doesn't meet the DPA real world scenario. (Or where BT run your internet speeds.)

    1. mrweekender

      Re: I don't see a need so why design the solution.

      Who the fuck wants Publisher? Yeeack!

  17. N2 Silver badge

    Is it another

    April 1st ?

  18. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    LameDuck for Office 2015

    MS always attempts to add a pointless application to each iteration of Office, they always fail, the only exception being OneNote which seems to have attracted a rabid* fan base. Looks like Sway is the new entrant in this category.

    *rabid in the sense of those who colour code their emails or tidy their desk before going home each night.

  19. nick bunyan

    Didn't Microsh*t used to have a web page building tool...

    And isn't the main content block or frontpage [Where have I heard that name before...] story the 'Hero' element in lots of CMS tools today...

  20. Hi Wreck

    I think they got the name wrong...

    Perhaps, given the lack of control over formatting and even the lack of an undo function, this new application should really be called "Pray".

    1. Darryl

      Re: I think they got the name wrong...

      "lack of control over formatting"

      Isn't that Word's job?

  21. Lallabalalla

    Cards, text... this is basic stuff

    Should be titled "My First Web App", this is the sort of stuff 14 year olds are doing for their ICT coursework. and from the sound of it, doing it better.

    And - Powerpoint?? For dinosaurs, and the Very Boring. Anyone with an ounce of savvy uses Prezzy these days.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: Cards, text... this is basic stuff

      I see from the downvote that the m$ shill is alive and well

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cards, text... this is basic stuff

        It's weird.. he likes everything from Microsoft, even crap like this.

  22. Mike Perrin

    HyperCard anyone?

    Bill Atkinson rang, said welcome to 1994:

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: HyperCard anyone?

      Was going to say the same, but it sounds like it doesn't have a scripting language so what use Sway is going to be is anyone's guess. It just seems to be PowerPoint Lite.

      I think HyperCard came out earlier, late 80s.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Re: HyperCard anyone?

      1987, more like.

  23. breakfast


    It may be a new office tool, but it's not exactly a Wave is it?

    Hopefully it will prove to have a shorter shelf life.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: Unswayed

      I dunno - we could all stand around and wave "byebye"

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sway mre more.

    "When marimba rhythms start to play. Dance with me, make me sway. Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore. Hold me close, sway me more."

    Well, that's ruined that song for me, then.

  25. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Google Wave? Is that you?

  26. Just Enough

    it's an beta release

    " Microsoft kindly gave me early access to the preview, emphasising that it is not yet a finished product."

    El Reg headline: "Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function"

    Guess Microsoft didn't emphasise the "not yet a finished product" enough. There are some people you simply can't give beta releases to, because they immediately start complaining about the kind of things that a beta release doesn't have.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: it's an beta release

      Here, try out this new fancy car we're working on. Not ready for sale yet, but you get first looks. Here's the key...





      BTW: The brakes don't work yet.... Ooooo.... Sorry!

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: it's an beta release

      Maybe you've never done any software dev, so here's a little lesson about undo features: if you don't code them in from the ground up, they're unlikely to work. I find Microsoft's lack of an undo feature disturbing.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: it's an beta release

        Some dev you are, you can knock it up at the last minute, just like security.

      2. Bladeforce

        Re: it's an beta release

        "I find Microsoft's lack of an undo feature disturbing."

        sounds very Darth Vader

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: The Indomitable Gall Re: it's an beta release

        ".....if you don't code them in from the ground up, they're unlikely to work...." Or, it could be the bones of the 'undo' routines are in the beta but not active because it's not yet ready for production. What, you've never released an alpha/beta with a feature commented out? So, how long have you worked with code....?

        1. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: The Indomitable Gall it's an beta release

          the bones of the 'undo' routines are in the beta but not active because it's not yet ready for production

          If it's not ready for production, then keep it in beta.

          Undo is a fundamental feature that you want to be tested during beta.

      4. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: it's an beta release

        if you don't code them in from the ground up, they're unlikely to work

        Have you also learned that the hard way?

  27. stringyfloppy

    Sway will primarily be used as a way for people to organize all their internet porn links and files. I can't wait to express myself and be creative with Sway!!

  28. jzlondon

    Off Topic

    When the hell are the Register going to join 2008 and introduce AJAX comments?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Off Topic

      it's so they can splat another round of ads on your screen whenever you comment or vote

  29. Stevie Silver badge


    FrontPage for the Twitterati.


  30. Ted Treen

    Oh dear...

    Am I alone in fearing that that wretched paperclip has been exposed to radioactivity or something**, and has undergone metamorphosis from an irritating add-on to a fully-blown app?

    It will end in tears:- we're all doomed!

    **You know - just like Spiderman, the Ninja Turtles, the Hulk etc., etc.

  31. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Nobody knows whether it goes thi' sway or tha' sway or 't-other sway.

    ... not even the people from Swale

  32. Gray

    Apple gave us Hypercard ...

    and all these years later Microsoft, in a revolutionary reinvention of personal expression gives us ...


    What a revealing comparison.

  33. MarvTheRobot

    Hmmm Sway -> Wave

    Is this not quite a poor attempt to do what Google tried in Wave?

    I like OneNote which seem to do this only to a far better standard. I also liked Google Wave until they shelved it. I don't see this becoming much more than a bastardisation of the two.

    But hey, time will tell

  34. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not a beta

    " Microsoft kindly gave me early access to the preview, emphasising that it is not yet a finished product."

    El Reg headline: "Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function"

    Guess Microsoft didn't emphasise the "not yet a finished product" enough. There are some people you simply can't give beta releases to, because they immediately start complaining about the kind of things that a beta release doesn't have."


    This is not a beta; outside the Microsoft world at least, betas are feature-complete, but may not be bug-free. This is pre-alpha software at best. I think it's completely fair to call them out for releasing a preview that is *THIS* incomplete and limited in functionality.

    Really, what IS the point of this? Powerpoint allows pulling in all these disparate data types onto slides, including the web links and everything. It supports output to several online formats; these currently assume rigid formatting (I suppose using fixed-width divs), but I can't see any reason why they couldn't have gotten more functionality than this pre-alpha by just supplying a second output driver that does not use fixed-width elements, allowing word-wrap etc. to happen based on the width of the screen (which is what it sounds like Sway is doing.)

  35. Nicole D.
    Paris Hilton

    Sway is like totally fetch.

  36. VinceLortho

    Sort of insulting

    No manual formatting and no undo and no reason I would want to use it.

  37. PeterM42

    Come back Bill......

    ......all is forgiven. At least you gave us applications that had some use. (And finally fixed the page n of n bug in Word before Office was ruined by tying it up in Ribbons!)

  38. Inquisitive

    Oh dear!

    Can't Microsoft just concentrate on stuff they already do and make it better, safer and with less bloat unless this is another business tool that us everyday folk have no interest in.

  39. Vociferous

    I can just see the thought process behind this

    "People love to consume content on the web, but they're utter morons who can't tie their own shoelaces. How can we, considering that the morons can't tie their shoe laces, make an application which aggregates the cat videos and viral tweets the morons so love so the morons can share them with other morons in a web 2.0 way?"

    "Sir, how about we make an app which takes links and some basic text, and slaps a theme on it?"

  40. Vociferous

    Also, I'm old.

    And I've found that the dumber an internet idea seems to me (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter...) the more success it'll have.

    This one is clearly headed for greatness.

  41. groberts116

    I notice you didn't publish my remarks about how One Note works. MS Office 365, while a subscription is totally resident on my hard drive and all Office file saves default to my hard drive. If I choose I can also save selected files on One Drive.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: groberts116

      "I notice you didn't publish my remarks"

      Calm your tits. You're a new poster. Your first few comments have to wait to be hand-moderated.


  42. Sundra T

    Another stupid idea from M$ that is doomed to yet another failure.

  43. Brian Allan 1


    Sounds about as useless as One Note!

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. AndyRaw


    Looks a bit like Tapose which, itself, was a sort of son of the ill fated Courier project. I guess its a cloud OneNote.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021