Know your data before you design.
If at all possible, get the spreadsheet, data array, and/or collection of images on the front end so you know exactly what you need to accommodate.
Make all images the same size.
Confine all your images to a defined area in your layout, and make sure each and every image is sized and proportioned to fit.
Design text for the worst-case scenario.
If you have the actual data, find the longest and shortest lengths of text that will be variable. If you donít have the data, make up your own best- and worst-case scenarios (Bo Lee vs. John-Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt). Typically, the worst-case scenario is of greatest concern. Test the longest and shortest lengths, and make adjustments to your type specs (point size, leading, condensed font, letterspacing, and scaling) until you have one spec that will work for every scenario. (If this proves impossible, you can consult your Imec representative for alternative solutions.)
Know some tricks and rules of thumb.
Centering your variable text could help you avoid bad line breaks and widows. But if the variable text will appear in a table, itís usually better to left-justify it than to center it. Donít flow text around an image. Donít vary more than twenty elements on a page. Provide a separate instructions document to describe complicated conditions/scenarios. And in your printout or PDF, indicate variable text with green type and brackets, and if possible use the exact name of the source data field, like so: [Column1].