← Back toHTML DOM

Download a file

Written byPhuoc Nguyen
Level 2 — Intermediate
21 Feb, 2020
Last updated
29 Mar, 2020

1. Use the download attribute

Adding the `download` attribute to a link will force the browser to download the file instead of navigating to the link. Note that the `download` attribute isn't supported in IE 11.
<a href="/path/to/file" download>Download</a>

2. Trigger the click event

The idea comes from creating a link, and trigger its `click` event.
// Create a new link
const link = document.createElement('a');
link.download = 'file name';
link.href = '/path/to/file';

// Append to the document

// Trigger the click event

// Remove the element

3. Download file with generated data

It's common to download a file with dynamic data, such as
  • a JSON
  • a text
  • an image
From the data, we can turn it to a blob, then trigger the `click` event as described in the previous section. The following sample code creates a blob of JSON and downloads it:
const data = JSON.stringify({ 'message': 'Hello Word' });

const blob = new Blob([data], { type: 'application/json' });

// Create new URL
const url = window.URL.createObjectURL(blob);

// Create a link and trigger the download

// Free the URL created above

See also

Questions? 🙋

Do you have any questions? Not just about this specific post, but about any topic in front-end development that you'd like to learn more about? If so, feel free to send me a message on Twitter or send me an email. You can find them at the bottom of this page.
I have a long list of upcoming posts, but your questions or ideas for the next one will be my top priority. Let's learn together! Sharing knowledge is the best way to grow 🥷.

Recent posts ⚡

Newsletter 🔔

If you're into front-end technologies and you want to see more of the content I'm creating, then you might want to consider subscribing to my newsletter.
By subscribing, you'll be the first to know about new articles, products, and exclusive promotions.
Don't worry, I won't spam you. And if you ever change your mind, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Phước Nguyễn