I personally don’t use Microsoft Office for two reasons. One, I hate it. Two, there’s other options. My mom was able to get me an educational version for $15 last year from her university’s bookstore. The Office for Mac is the same formatting Nazi that it is for Windows. Because of that, I decided to try out NeoOffice, an open-source office suite for Mac (its Windows base is OpenOffice.) It doesn’t have the weird automatic formatting, but it’s able to do everything MS Office can do.
There are also no-download-required options to replace Microsoft Office.
I’ve only tried Google Docs and found it to be very nice. I still prefer to have actual software on my computer for some reason. But it is nice if you’re on a computer you can’t install software on (or don’t want to).
No Download Required: 30+ Apps That Are Killing Microsoft goes into detail about more web apps that aren’t only office suites, but simple replacements of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. Mashable has very nice articles, although I find they’re hard to locate.
P.S. When reading Study Hacks, I came across a link to an article, Living with Microsoft Word: Tips for Survival. So if you do like/want to/have to use MS Office, that article will give you some tips.