A data sheet, data-sheet, or spec sheet is a document that summarizes the performance and other characteristics of a product, machine, component (e.g., an electronic component), material, subsystem (e.g., a power supply), or software in sufficient detail that allows a buyer to understand what the product is and a design engineer to understand the role of the component in the overall system. Typically, a datasheet is created by the manufacturer and begins with an introductory page describing the rest of the document, followed by listings of specific characteristics, with further information on the connectivity of the devices. In cases where there is relevant source code to include, it is usually attached near the end of the document or separated into another file. Datasheets are created, stored, and distributed via product information management or product data management systems.
Depending on the specific purpose, a datasheet may offer an average value, a typical value, a typical range, engineering tolerances, or a nominal value. The type and source of data are usually stated on the datasheet.
A datasheet is usually used for commercial or technical communication to describe the characteristics of an item or product. It can be published by the manufacturer to help people choose products or to help use the products. By contrast, a technical specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service.
The ideal datasheet specifies characteristics in a formal structure, according to a strict taxonomy, that allows the information to be processed by a machine. Such machine readable descriptions can facilitate information retrieval, display, design, testing, interfacing, verification, system discovery, and e-commerce. Examples include Open Icecat data-sheets, transducer electronic data sheets for describing sensor characteristics, and Electronic device descriptions in CANopen or descriptions in markup languages, such as SensorML.