When shopping for electronics pieces, it is vitally important that engineers and electricians know everything they can about a particular piece. After all, if the piece is not of the correct size, or shape, or if it weighs too much, it may not fit properly in whatever device they are designing. And size, shape, and weight are not the only characteristics to consider. Besides these, designers have to worry about the temperatures the device will endure, what solvents it can be exposed to, how much humidity it can take without being damaged, what resistance it might have, how much voltage it can take, and so on and so forth.
To find this information, designers read what are known as “datasheets.” Almost any electrical component will have a datasheet describing it in great detail, and explaining all of its various attributes and properties. Datasheets also include diagrams and pictures that help designers see exactly what an item looks like. Without datasheets, designing electrical circuits and devices would require an endless process of trial and error, until at last the designers found a configuration of electrical components that meshed seamlessly together. With datasheets—and especially now that datasheets are digitalized and searchable online—designers can say with some certainty that their chosen parts will work, even before a prototype is finished.