Looking at converting from Windows XP to Ubuntu. Need to know if Ubuntu can open and update Microsoft Word files.
To be frank there's a lot of issues with .doc and .docx formats in LibreOffice. If your MS Office files are simple text files, it won't give you trouble. But if it contains images, specially the .docx files, you might have a frustrating experience with LibreOffice.
You can do all the things in LibreOffice that you do in MS Office. But first thing is you need to get rid of doc/docx file formats. Open Document Tex (.odt) is the default file format in LibreOffice and it is great. It even works with MS Office.
However, if you want to stick to the doc/docx file format, you can even install MS Office in ubuntu. There's a provision for that.
Apache Open Office, and LibreOffice are both freely available for Ubuntu. While they do support editing/creating word documents in .doc and .docx formats their support isn't 100%. If you want to test them out first to see if this will affect you both Apache Open Office, and LibreOffice are also available for Windows. Another option would be to try running Microsoft Office in Wine. Wine is a program that attempts to act a compatibility layer so that you can run Windows programs on Linux operating systems. Some programs work, some sort of work, and some don't work at all. I've never tried Office in Wine so I don't know if it works.
LibreOffice Direct Download Link (An Official Mirror):
Apache Open Office =
Apache Open Office Direct Download Link (An Official Mirror):
I almost never use Microsoft Word these days as Google Docs (free if you have a Gmail account) works simply and straightforwardly in the browser on Windows, Ubuntu, Mac OS X and even on tablet devices. The other advantage your data is stored in the Cloud and therefore automatically backed up and available from wherever you need it.
If you go down this route I would recommend you download and install the Chrome browser in place of the default Firefox to get the most out of the features.
LibreOffice though is definitely a competent alternative Microsoft Word, and as noted is installed as standard in Ubuntu.
Whilst the use of open file formats is to commended you may find Windows / Word stalwarts (especially ones running older versions) complaining when they receive files with unusual extensions!
As already mentioned, as long as the .doc/.docx files are simple structured you won't have big issues. That changes with the complexity of the .dox/.docx files. A further headache is the collaboration with other users who use MS-Word only on their Windows or Apple machine or even work with customers.