OT: Organizing printed datasheets

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I'm curious as to what other people do to keep printed reference material organized.

I like to print and bind (in a 3-ring binder) the AVR datasheets and any other material that I need or find especially useful as a reference. Having so many documents printed out requires a lot of binder space though, and I never could figure out a good way to keep it all organized nicely.

The AVR datasheets used to fit into 3 reasonably sized binders.. One for each of AT90S, ATtiny, and ATmega, and then I would put whatever datasheet I needed to keep next to me into a 1" binder... temporarily, then put it back with the rest of it's corresponding family when I was done.

Keeping stuff organized by Family makes the most sense to me, but as documents get added, you must either split the family between multiple binders or step up to a larger binder. While it's nice to keep related documents together, having seperate binders for each of the AVR datasheets comes in sort of handy. Maybe that is the best route to take?

Also, I might just be a weirdo printing out all this crap... does viewing PDFs on the computer work well enough for all of you? I can't stand reading datasheets on a monitor, and I wish Atmel would print AVR databooks again. :cry:

BTW, does this topic belong in the AVRfreaks.net forum? I guess I think of that forum mostly as a place to talk about this site. If it belongs there though, could someone please move it?

/* John Butera */

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I go with the binders personally...Atmel I keep by family, what gets me is all the other misc semi's datasheets...not to mention things like LCD's and sensors..lol. I binder them too, separated with small yellow stick-note on top of first page of each datasheet. Sort of looks like file folder separators, but busted assed.
PDF are fine too...but not like paper copy

"faster than the speed of dark"

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I used to keep all my datasheets in three ring binders, but that just got too unweildy. Especially if I was trying to reference several parts at the same time. Like you, I prefer to see paper than a pdf on the screen, but finally I just had to. Now I have two monitors hooked up to my PC, so when I'm programming I have the editor up on one monitor and the pdfs on the other, and that has made all the difference.

j.

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I have all my important datasheets printed and bound for later use. I have found that pages of the datasheet dont last in 3 ring binders. Also I use two moniters for programing/hardware design.

Caleb

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Heh, me ? I prefer binders.

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Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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Thats a lot of binders!!

I normally end up just priting off sections of the data-sheet on-demand (pin-out, etc).

I've been considering a second monitor - would you guys really recommend it? My video card has a second video out...

Regards,

-Colin

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Looks like this thread will become a jack-of-all-trades one perhaps. Yup, that's a lot of binders. While I have most if not all the PDFs on disc, I find it much more natural and soothing to flip pages. I absorb more that way as well.

Those binders aren't even the Atmel ones - they don't fit :) These are datasheets, appnotes, project writeups, magazine PDFs, you name it.

2nd monitor - absolutely, depending on what you do. I use Protel 99SE, which doesn't really require a 2nd monitor. I've played with 2004, which while it doesn't require another monitor, really makes life sooo much easier with it.

I had two 21" crts on the desk - one died a few months ago, and I haven't replaced it yet. Can get a 19" lcd for about $500 now, fairly good quality, but I would really like a pair of 23" ones. Kind of cost-prohibitive though :(

Having schematic on left, pcb on right, and you'll wonder how you ever did without it. Being able to push all the panels etc over to the left while you work on the pcb/schematic on the right, again, is great.

MSVDM virtual screens just aren't up to the task, and screen switching is way too slow.

Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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Chancy, that is quite a collection. It's a bit hard to tell, but it looks like the vast majority of your binders are 1" or 2".

For the most part, I've been using 3 and 4 inch binders so that I could keep groups of stuff in a single binder... AVR's grouped by family, manuals together by their corresponding application, and a big ole binder of miscellaneous datasheets and schematics.

I bought a handful of 1" binders and started splitting things up, and it looks like 1" binders are more comfortable for me. Having them all separate will allow me to avoid taking a datasheet out of its big binder and putting it back later.

Good to see that I'm not the only one who likes to have paper datasheets. :)

BTW, I have 2 computers at my desk, and I often use one computer for the PDF and the other for work as a few of you have suggested, but it's real hard to "flip" through the datasheets by scrolling through a mile-long PDF.

/* John Butera */

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I like that dual monitor idea, haven't used that since way back with Turbo Pascal and the Periscope debugger days. That was an XT with both a CGA and a Herc Mono card in it!!

The only time I prefer the pdf is when I need to do a word search.

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I used to have printed copies, but found that they do not last (both physically, and contextually). Besides I like to scribble notes on them which tends to amke a mess rahter quickly. So like Colin I print out sections on demand, scribble on them as I need to, and when done toss it out (or file it with the project paperwork if necessary). The rest of the time I reference the PDF's directly. This works better for me, since I can search the PDF (or even accross several PDF's), and the fact that they are occasionally updated, it saves me from having to re-print the entire catalogue on a regular basis just to remain current. Though I do prefer reading off of paper, I can usually get away with just printing a select few pages, instead of an entire section.

Writing code is like having sex.... make one little mistake, and you're supporting it for life.

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Hi,

i use a 2 monitor system for design and programming.
It's the best solution if you need editor / debugger / datasheet on screen.
Some times i print sections of datasheet for "off line" reading.

My EDA System (Protel99 SE) can use both screen's for schematic and pcb!
You just use split function and it works fine.

Best Regards
Michael

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I am using binders too. I think it´s more practical in many reasons. When the weather is nice I can take my datasheet outside for reading it and it´s not necessary to take the laptop.

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I agree with the binder folks. All my stuff goes in three ring binders. I usually lose them though. If there were a decent micro that offered their stuff in databooks instead of CDRoms, and such, I would drop Atmel today. I am loyal and all, but anyone who would print them out would deserve the business.

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I have my WONDERFUL August 1999 Data book which is ALWAYS next to my computer and open to the op code section. PDFs are alright but nothing like a good old reference manual. I agree that it would be a good business if someone printed out the data sheets as a data book. I would even be prepared to pay some reasonable ammount for it. Also single device printed out data sheets would be OK. Motorola used to do that but I haven't used Moto devices for a few years now for new designs. The 4cm (1.5") data book would need to be replaced by a metre high stack of binders I would suspect.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Hi,

You could perhaps use http://www2.ondemandmanuals.com/ sort of thing, if you got enough people to make it worthwhile.

Regards,

-Colin

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I, too, like printed copies of datasheets as well as complete program listings...but only occasionally. Those occasions are typically when I want to go through a big piece of unfamiliar "stuff", and the real book in my hands gives me a sense of place in the document.

Quote:
PDFs are alright but nothing like a good old reference manual

I've gotten away almost completely from printing out complete datasheets. Usually just a small pertinent section will be printed for reference when needed. I find the PDFs to be most valuable. An example where I feel it beats the heck out of the printed version is [for example] "find all references to OCR1x in the datasheet for indirect mentions that may have a bearing on the usage". Very easy to miss one mention when reading.

Now, the problem is keeping all the PDF files organized in a directory tree. :) Most important for me, I've found, is to rename DOC01234 to a meaninful name immediately when downloading.

Related question: Can someone recommend a good (preferably freeware) tool to search inside a directory full of PDFs for a particular word or phrase?

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Havent tried but stumbled across this freeware PDF manager

http://rtt.planetaclix.pt/home.htm

/Bingo

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I have actually found that 3 monitors works wonderfully! Datasheet on the right, schematic on the left, code in the middle! I'm running an AGP card with 2 outputs and then a PCI card for the 3rd. Works great. As a result, I rarely print things out anymore (I suppose I'm saving a tree or two? :wink: ).

Once you've used more than one monitor, you'll wonder how you ever did without it. And you'll never want to go back!

-Chad