About Datasheets

Datasheets provide valuable information about the performance and operating characteristics of a device.  To become a successful engineer, you have to learn to read and understand datasheets.

4. Increase the Informational Signal to Noise Ratio

There is a good chance that during the design process you will need to read, re-read, and then re-read your datasheets again.  Save yourself aggravation and time by eliminating extraneous information whenever possible.

Save a copy of the original datasheet, and then print out a hard-copy or create a digital copy of the original.  Use highlighters to direct your attention to important information, use colored pens to take notes, use dark markers to eliminate information that is unimportant.  This allows you to find and focus on the important information the next time you open the document.

Adobe Acrobat has several tools:

Use Organize Pages to delete unnecessary pages from a file

Use Edit PDF to delete unnecessary text and images from a file.

Use the Highlighter tool to emphasize important information.

"I will often take notes in various colors of pen.  While some people will organize the colors by content (blue is for firmware programming notes, green is for questions, etc...), I find that is all a bit too much for me to keep track of.  Instead, I will use as many colors as I have available to me (around 4-8) and make sure that each note is in a different color.  Then when I need to reference that note in the future, I find that I can pretty easily remember 'oh, that was the blue note in the upper-right-hand corner about halfway in.'  Find a system that works for you, but do not restrict yourself to black ink on a white page out of laziness or tradition.  One of my professors used to say 'you are not taking notes for one hour from now, you are taking notes for three months from now.'"