The sad fact is that most of the world runs on Microsoft formats. At our school we even have to submit most classwork in .doc or .docx format. The thing is, Microsoft complicates everything they do. Not to mention that if you own say an iMac or MacBook pages sometimes has formatting issues when the .doc has been saved in a different program. Pages works well with all Mac products, and MS Office works well with all Microsoft products. I have issue because I don't use either (I'm a Linux enthusiast). I have found several programs that work on all platforms and gives you a seamless user interface no matter what operating system you're using.
By the way, if you're looking for a new universal operating system you can try Linux for free. Distro Watch can help you decide which flavor of Linux you might like.
All the files I share on this blog are hosted by Ubuntu One. Ubuntu is one of the most well known Linux distributions and it's online file sync, Ubuntu One, is built into it's system which makes sharing files easy.
Give Ubuntu a Try.
There is also a distribution of Ubuntu geared toward students. It's called UberStudent.
Check out UberStudent.
You can try Ubuntu One without changing your operating system by signing up for 5GB free.
These are full office suites:
LibreOffice <- This is the one I use
OpenOffice <- I used to use this one, but LibreOffice is more dedicated to FOSS principles
Abiword <- The office suites above both have word processors but sometimes it's better to have a dedicated program for word processing. It also doesn't take as long to load as it has just one function not five or ten.
Focus Writer <- Does not save in .doc, but you can use one of the office suites to convert it, all formatting for the document holds up during conversion. The up side is that it fills the whole screen and gives you the option of either having a background or leaving it blank aside from your writing. You can also time how long you've been writing, both actively and how long the program has been running(it will do the math to tell you what percentage of your time you've actually been writing) or set a word limit for your session. You can also set it not to allow you access to the rest of computer until you've either met your set time or set word limit for your writing session.
USB Portable Application:
You can also use a USB stick to run your own applications on nearly any windows computer. This comes in handy for me when using school computers, I can use my own browser complete with the extensions and bookmarks I need while at the same time leaving no personal information on a public computer. I also get to use Abiword, Focus Writer and Libreoffice without actually installing them onto the computer, that way I'm still using familiar software. There are a number of places to get a launcher for these portable applications, just GOOGLE it.
Portable Apps <- This is the one I use, mainly because it's the first one I found
Librekey <- This is the one I'll be using next time, just because I can.
These are general on the top 2-5 list of software bloggers.