This one has been driving me a bit nuts...obviously, InDesign and Illustrator both have some crossover in terms of capabilities, interface, and function, but they don't exactly play nice with each other.
Anyway, here's the situation: a graphic was created in InDesign using vector shapes and gradient shades, mostly for internal use. A client wanted to incorporate that particular image into their marketing materials, but are specifically asking for a vector that can be manipulated in Illustrator.
Certainly, vector-based files exported by InDesign (.EPS, .PDF) can be imported and read by Illustrator, but the file doesn't look anything like one that was created in Illustrator. Whereas gradient vector shapes were created in InDesign, when exported to .EPS/.PDF when read in Illustrator, it turns it into a rasterized image with a clipping mask on it. Any sort of effects such as drop shadow were also rasterized.
Given that the paths are still intact, it's not a complete loss, but I'm otherwise going to have to manually recreate a lot of the work in Illustrator so that it approximates the look of the original document. Is there an easier or faster way to do this? Copying and pasting between applications isn't doing it.
As you've already noted there is crossover between the two but they are
not the same. I'm afraid there is no way you're going to get a perfect
translation from ID to AI.
Illustrator is NOT a general purpose PDF editor. Opening an ID PDF in AI
may give you a start but the more complex the PDF the more work you're
going to have.
Sadly, I have a lot more experience working with ID-created PDFs and EPSes in Illustrator than I'd like. Fewer things are more annoying than having to work backwards to the point that the time savings compared to starting from scratch are negligable or even take longer.