Although I generally use Windows platform and hence Word for most of my document writing, I have always used Latex for academic writing purposes.
One reason being of course that back in uni, formatting using Latex was mandatory. In fact for my undergrad thesis I used a Sinhala Latex called SinTex since I needed to include Sinhala fonts which were not included in the general MikTex distribution.
But mostly I find Latex to be much more easier to use since its a pretty well structured way of doing things.
You dont need to worry about floating tables and images with captions randomly appearing all over the place...well sort of. :) Latex mostly takes care of them for you..So you dont have to spend time dragging and right-clicking and answering wizards. Latex is basically mouse-free!
However due to the fact that I dont have my favourite Latex editor LEd and the MikTex distribution on my (new) computer I have been reduced to seek the help of Mr.Word 2007 to write this research paper :(
Weell its not that bad..
But citations are a pain. For one thing it takes too much time. It takes at least 2 seconds for the citation box thingy to appear once you click on it.
And the citation format I needed which was numerical with square brackets was not included (which means something like this ). Fortunately the formats are in .xsl files inside Word and I was able to add my format. :)
Still, I'm having trouble over positioning tables and captions. The caption goes to one place and the table goes to another place!
I didnot have the pdf conversion addin either. But thanks to the internet have been able to get a download (yippie!)
One plus is that I dont need to convert images into .epf . AND I dont have to run the DVI viewer to see what the document actually looks like. This is a major plus when adjusting margins and page width/heights.
In 2 days have only been able to write 1.5 pages (!) AND the actual content has already been written, this is only to format. I get frustrated after half an hour of trying to drag my table to the place where I want it to go but Word thinks it knows better than me. Hmph.
So which is better, Latex or Word?
Word has a lot of nice glitz which would be really nice for things like resumes and reports but in terms of academic writing I'd definitely go for Latex.