PageMaker files are binary compatible at the same version level. Albeit the platform/level restriction (see below), PageMaker file exchanges between Mac and PC work fine in the daily work. You should apply some general DTP tips if you plan to regulary exchange DTP layouts.
You can't change the level and the platform at the same time. Say you work on the PC with PageMaker 6. You can't import a Mac PM5 file. You have to first open the file in Mac PM6, save it, then transfer it to the PC and open it in the target application.
The latest version (PageMaker 6) can save as PM5. It should alleviate our daily problems.
On Adobe Web site, you can find an utility (named cross.exe) to convert Macintosh PM4 and 5 to Windows 6 (it runs on single files or as a batch job). I believe there is a corresponding utility running on the Macintosh.
The distribution CD-ROM of PM6 contains an utility to convert PM3 files to PM5. Beforehand, you could not leapfrog a version level.
On the Macintosh, PageMaker can't (or refuses to) see PageMaker files created on the PC (when you try to open them from the 'File' menu) if they don't have the correct PC extension (".PM6") and don't have the correct filetype ("TEXT"). The creator may be "MDOS" or another. Another solution is naturally to give them the correct (PageMaker) creator and type string "ALBxALDx" (x being the version number). The main advantage is that, in this case, the program doesn't open a copy of the file (which could bring some problems if you are tight on your disks). See also our page on Macintosh signatures.
The PageMaker 6.5 manual states that a file to be transfered from a Mac to a PC should have a ".P65" or ".T65" extension.
PageMaker 6 for Windows has import filters for versions 3, 4 and 5 of Corel Draw, allowing you to place these pictures in your layout. However, if you are printing to a PostScript printer, it is strongly recommanded to export an EPS file from Corel Draw. You can save a lot of time doing this.
Amongst the utilities given with PageMaker (from release 6, if I'm right), there is an application adequatly called "QuarkXpress Converter". It makes a reasonnable work. It can be useful to copy the elements of the layout to another page to be able to access everything (notably saving modified styles).
It happens quite frequently that one forgets to install this utility when installing the program for the first time. You then have to restart the installation program and specifically select the utility.