Depending on the detail/complexity/accuracy of the graphics, you will not likely find back-and-forth wokflows between PostScript-compatible drawing programs (Illustrator, FreeHand, Canvas, Draw, Xara) and OS-meta format (QuickDraw, Quartz, WMF, EMF) based programs ("Works" or "Office" applications) very satisfying.
You encounter instance-specific caveats stemming from two basic issues:
PostScript compatible drawing programs use cubic Bezier curves; two curve handles per path segment. "Works" or "Office" type drawing modules typically use simpler quadratic Bezier curves; one handle per path segment. So going back and forth between involves geometric translations and re-translations which wreck the practicality of editng the paths. PostScript drawing programs use cubic curves for good reason: more shape control with fewer anchors.
The OS-specific meta formats are really not designed for the device-independent resolution fidelity of commercial print. Resolution in vector drawing? Yes. Vector paths are essentially mathematical formulae for *plotting* curves onto a raster grid. (Everything is eventually rasterized; the practical difference between raster and vector graphics is a matter of when.)
So it's a matter of accuracy; the "fineness" of the theoretical grids the curve-handling format/application is designed to plot upon . Meta formats are more about drawing an acceptable shape onscreen, and you can kind of think of what gets sent to a dumb printing device (one without a PostScript "brain") as a glorified enlarged screenshot. The path objects you draw in a PostScript compatible program that have smooth curves that scale well both upward and downward often translate to meta formats as paths with ugly flats or extra kinks that become apparent when scaled. These caveats are unpredictable and tedious to correct. The bother ends up outweighing the advantages you are seeking.
In a nutshell, that's why Illustrator's effective "recommendation" for exporting to Office applicaitons (Save For Office...) is the lowest-common-denominator approach of defaulting to a common raster format (PNG), even though Windows does have a vector-based format (EMF) which Illustrator can export to.
If what you're trying to do is just a one-way trip from some legacy AppleWorks drawings to Illustrator, you'll need an intermediary translation from .awk to something Illustrator can import. You may be able to find an open-source software for doing that.
Perhaps if you care to explain what modifications you have in mind people may be able to provide guidance. Otherwise James' analysis is spot on and to expand on it, even different programs that use PostScript compatible rendering may not be compatible becuase just like Illustrator, Corel, Xara and the others will have proprietary stuff built on top of the basic path rasterization...
Thanks for your reply.
I have seating plans in Appleworks for a music festival in a medieval barn. I need ideally to be able to import the existing plan and adapt the seating layout for new security norms. Otherwise, I need to import the groundplan, which includes about 20 pillars, and redo the seating plan from scratch.