I had to get a Windows computer for my court reporting software and didn’t have much budget left for Microsoft Word. I hard about the Open Office suite from an on-line acquaintance and have found it to be quite good for my uses — typing up steno notes.
The standard document formats in court reporting are RTF and Word for Windows, and Open Office creates both. It offers continuous spell check, word completion, a very Windows-like look (I’m a Mac person, so that’s not necessarily a total benefit, but if you’re in Windows, you might as well be in Windows). And as the Portland slogan goes, Free is a very good price.
I tried the Mac version, and prefer Appleworks. Open Office opens in some weird other space on the Mac, and then it looks just like Windows.