What is a datasheet? Help your readers to make a quicker decision


don’t know what a datasheet is? Don’t worry, for many people this is an unknown name, and even when we translate the word datasheet, we don’t have much information available, because “datasheet” can be a very ambiguous meaning.

To give you a good idea of what a datasheet is, we invite you to check the box of some of the electrical appliances you have at home. If you look closely, you will see that next to the instruction manual you will find a datasheet with technical specifications.

This datasheet is used to provide technical information to users of electronic devices. In it you can find information about the electronic diagram of your devices and, in general, all the specifications about their internal components.

We know that this explanation about what is a datasheet is very basic and you have a million doubts, so in this article we will explain in more detail what is a datasheet, what they are used for and how you can learn to read a datasheet without having to learn about electronics.

When you finish reading this article, you will be ready to explain to anyone what a datasheet is for, and you will be able to look at a datasheet without thinking that it is incomprehensible hieroglyphics.

what is the definition of a datasheet?

A datasheet, also known as a data sheet or technical data sheet, is a document commonly used for technological communication that describes the specifications, explains the performance and technical characteristics of a product, material, component, machine, etc.

ScienceDirect defines what a datasheet is as follows: “A datasheet brings together all pertinent information about a piece of equipment, primarily, so that non-technical people, can acquire it.”

Usually, a datasheet starts with a short introduction describing the main idea of the document and the content often depends on the type of datasheet being worked on.

Nowadays it is very easy to find the datasheet of any product, regularly, manufacturers usually upload the datasheet of the products they make to their website, so you just have to download the file to have access to it.

In summary, answering the question what is a datasheet, it is a document that identifies the main features, specifications and other criteria relevant to the user of a product. These are some of the items that a manufacturer should include information about in its datasheet:

Identification code and manufacturer’s name.
Specifications about the product’s components.
Images of the product or equipment.
Materials used for manufacturing.
Technical details for service.

The fact that consumers can have a datasheet with this data is fundamental, since it allows them to know more precisely what they are buying. In fact, the datasheet is a requirement that manufacturers must comply with, and in most parts of the world there are regulations and laws that enforce compliance.

Source: Manualzz

what is a datasheet for?

A datasheet is unique to each product and serves to explain all the valuable details about it. The idea is that, by looking at the datasheet of a product or any component, you can find out exactly how a device works and what its most important features are.

Although it is not a marketing tool, many people consult the technical specifications in the datasheet of a product before buying it, but in order to do so, the datasheet must be understandable and well structured.

This means that, if you want to make a datasheet, you must be clear about the type of person who will read the document, and what they will do with it. Otherwise, you are likely to write information of no interest to consumers.

Image: electro.fisica.unlp.edu.ar

The best way to use a datasheet is to encourage the reader to learn more about the product, for example, they can read technical reports and compare your products with those of the competition. The datasheet is also used to help the reader make a decision more quickly.

Any definition that purports to answer what a datasheet is and what it is used for should indicate the usefulness of specifications and technical details about a product for the marketing of the product. Although a datasheet is not essential to sell, it does help a portion of a company’s public to decide to buy its products.

what is the structure of a datasheet?

A datasheet is composed of several sheets with descriptions of characteristics that are provided by the manufacturers of electronic equipment or components.

As mentioned above, datasheets are published on the Internet, usually in PDF file format, and can be located and downloaded from the manufacturer’s website or located through specialized search tools such as Datasheet Finder.

A datasheet with specifications has the following structure according to the Electronics Notes website:

External description and emphasis of the most important characteristics of its components.
Limit or maximum values: they correspond to the characteristics of the element.
Curves with the most appropriate characteristics to the type of component using the basic electronics functions.
Integrated circuit datasheet for testing and measurements.
Mechanical characteristics of the element and its measurements.

However, the structure may vary from one industry to another. The datasheet format of a fan is totally similar to that of a computer. It all depends on the target audience of the datasheet, the regulations or standards for each industry, and the aspects that the manufacturer considers most important.

Image: winbond.com

what does a datasheet have to have?

There is an outline with basic elements that a datasheet must have.

Description: describe what it does, who uses it, where it adds value and how it helps to fulfill the request.
Graphics: use diagrams, screenshots and graphs to show how it works. Images in the datasheet are accompanied by text.
Benefits: uses bullet points to highlight key benefits.
Requirements: lists the software and hardware required to use the product.
Contact information: includes contact information at the end of the datasheet with specifications.

why do people read a spec sheet?

have you ever wondered why some people tend to use a datasheet with technical specifications? why read a datasheet if what we are interested in is to use the device we buy and nothing else?

Usually, people who know what a datasheet is, think that the technical data sheet was created by engineers, for engineers. But the truth is that the technical specifications of electronic products are also aimed at the general public, and more and more people are looking for the datasheet of products such as cell phones or computers to know if they are making a good purchase.

For example, if we review the datasheet of the HP Probook 450 G8 computer, we can see that it includes data about its operating system, the number of connection ports it has, the type of battery it uses, and all the peripherals it includes when it is purchased, among other things.

In other words, knowing what a datasheet is can help us to better understand the products we buy or want to buy. In some cases, a datasheet can be more detailed and include data on the specific operation of each component and the role it plays in keeping the product operational.

Image: HP

Learning to read a datasheet can be very simple, or it may require minimal knowledge of how electrical circuits work, the nomenclature used to describe the power requirements of the device, and some other technical knowledge of electronics. It all depends on the type of datasheet we are dealing with.

Speaking in the proper sense of the word “read”, very few people actually read every line of the different types of datasheet that exist; instead, most people glance at the datasheet definitions in search of what they are really interested in.

In general, people tend to search the datasheet for certain keywords about the features and specifications of a particular product. For example, in the case of the HP laptop we mentioned, it is likely that the most interesting part of the datasheet for people is the data about the processor and RAM memory.

how to read a datasheet?

There are several ways to learn how to read a datasheet, from the complex ones (with basic engineering language) to the ones that only include information about the components of the equipment or product.

Here we will share a bit of both so that you really understand what a datasheet is and what you need to do to read one quickly and easily.

Dynamoelectronics explains in a simple way how to read a datasheet (without dying trying).

Description in the datasheet

In this part of the datasheet you can find a description with relevant information about the operation of the equipment or product. It may include data about the name and model, its specific functions, the components included when you buy it, and the quality standards by which the manufacturing was supervised.

Likewise, in some cases it specifies the use for which it was designed and the requirements it has to be used. A technical datasheet could include data on the electronic components that the equipment has, and some data that may be useful for maintenance or service.

Features or characteristics of a specification sheet

In the features of a datasheet you will always find the operating parameters, such as the operating system it uses, its power consumption, and any data that allows users to understand its operation.

In a simple datasheet, such as that of a cell phone, we could see features such as the battery life, the dimensions of the equipment, its weight, and the type of power adapter we need to charge it.

Electrical diagram

Not all datasheets include a diagram to explain the electrical operation of a device, however, more than once you will find a diagram in the specification sheet of an electronic product.

This part of the datasheet is very useful for the maintenance and service of certain equipment and, to understand it, it is necessary to have a minimum of knowledge about electronics. In a few words, the diagram is a functional scheme of the electronic devices that allows us to recognize what each of its components is used for.

Image: electro.fisica.unlp.edu.ar

Operating margins or absolute maximum indexes

This is one of the most important parts of a datasheet for technicians or people who are interested in servicing their electronic devices. The operating margins indicate the maximum voltage values and other variables that must be taken into account in order not to damage the equipment.

what are the DC characteristics in a datasheet?

DC characteristics in a datasheet are the minimum, typical and maximum operating values of a device. And we are not only referring to the electronic characteristics (currents and voltages) but also to the frequency, accuracy, temperature and more.

Image: electro.fisica.unlp.edu.ar

Integrated circuit in the datasheet

The integrated circuit in the datasheet refers to the connections and contains information on how to connect the circuits, how each of the pins are numbered in relation to the packaging and how they work.

One of the most important IC and parallel circuit data is the ground and power pins (they are used to bias the device).

Charts to read on a datasheet

Last but not least, graphs are used to read from a datasheet the behavior of the equipment under different operating conditions. It is always useful to check the graph section in the datasheet because it usually varies a lot and you should take into account some logarithmic scales.

Tips for writing a datasheet

Providing the public with the right information about our products in a datasheet hasa wide range of advantages, among which are improving the users’ buying experience and generating loyalty with our brand.

At this point we will give you some tips to learn how to write a datasheet that fulfills the purpose of giving valuable information to users, and allows them to know everything they need to make a purchase decision. The idea is that you can write a datasheet for:

Share essential information to learn about your products.
Allow customers to use the datasheet to compare your products with those of your competitors.
Increase the sale of your products.

You must take into account that depending on the industry to which your brand belongs, the usefulness of the datasheet may be greater or lesser.

Focus on the most important information

So that your datasheet is not full of words and incomprehensible information for the users of your products, you should make an effort to highlight the most important data. We recommend that you think about what the users’ needs are, what the frequently asked questions about the product might be, and summarize everything in just a couple of paragraphs.

Most datasheets are short, and this is not by chance, but for practical reasons. Most people don’t even know what a datasheet is, so you have the added difficulty of having to write for someone who is not necessarily interested in reading some of what you write. Here are some examples of questions you might ask yourself to make sure you include the essential information in the datasheet:

how does this product solve the needs of your target audience?
what does your product do? what is it good for?
what makes your product different from the competition?
what are the technical factors that enable it to work?

Remember that to answer these questions and make an effective datasheet, you need to keep your target audience in mind and write short answers to answer them. If you follow these tips, your datasheet can be a good reference of what a datasheet is.

Be sure to describe the product on the first page

For some people, the description is not an important part of a datasheet, however, we believe that using it will help you project the idea you have about your product and, in some way, this can help you sell it better.

We recommend that you try to highlight some of the most important features of the product, you can even include some details about the benefits it can bring to the users. With the following example, you will discover how important is a datasheet that includes a brief description of the product you are selling.

Source: HP

Highlights product benefits

To sell a product it is essential that the customer knows the benefits that he can obtain and, if he does not know them, you can let him know them through the datasheet. Little by little we have seen how useful a datasheet is to generate sales, now let’s see how you can highlight the strong points of your product.

Next, we will show you a good example of a datasheet that highlights the benefits of a product in the right way. You can use it as a reference, keeping in mind that you will have to adapt the text to your particular needs.

Source: Refrinorte

Use titles and subtitles

Now that you know what an effective datasheet is, you only need to improve some aspects related to style. You must make an effort so that the text you write is understandable by users and, in case it is a datasheet with several pages, so that the consumers of your products can easily navigate through the content.

The best way to achieve this in your datasheet is to use a format of headings and subheadings. To do this, it is a good idea to make an outline in which you establish what are the main points you are going to talk about, and what are the ideas that will help you give users details about each of those points.

Use bullet points and bold text

Bullet points will help you break up the text of your datasheet, so users will be able to read more easily, and even scan which are the important data you are highlighting. Similarly, you can use bold formatting to highlight important words in your text.

By following these tips, you will have changed your perception of what a datasheet is, and you will now have the ability to write one that attracts attention.

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