How to create a file in memory for user to download, but not through server?


Is there any way I can create a text file on the client side and prompt the user to download it, without any interaction with the server? I know I can't write directly to their machine (security and all), but can I create and prompt them to save it?

You can use data URIs. Browser support varies; see Wikipedia. Example:

<a href="data:application/octet-stream;charset=utf-16le;base64,//5mAG8AbwAgAGIAYQByAAoA">text file</a>

The octet-stream is to force a download prompt. Otherwise, it will probably open in the browser.

For CSV, you can use:

<a href="data:application/octet-stream,field1%2Cfield2%0Afoo%2Cbar%0Agoo%2Cgai%0A">CSV Octet</a>

Try the jsFiddle demo.


Simple solution for HTML5 ready browsers...

function download(filename, text) {
  var element = document.createElement('a');
  element.setAttribute('href', 'data:text/plain;charset=utf-8,' + encodeURIComponent(text));
  element.setAttribute('download', filename);

  element.style.display = 'none';
  document.body.appendChild(element);

  element.click();

  document.body.removeChild(element);
}
form * {
  display: block;
  margin: 10px;
}
<form onsubmit="download(this['name'].value, this['text'].value)">
  <input type="text" name="name" value="test.txt">
  <textarea name="text"></textarea>
  <input type="submit" value="Download">
</form>

Usage

download('test.txt', 'Hello world!');

All the above solutions didn't work in all browsers. Here is what finally works on IE 10+, Firefox and Chrome (and without jQuery or any other library):

save: function(filename, data) {
    var blob = new Blob([data], {type: 'text/csv'});
    if(window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob) {
        window.navigator.msSaveBlob(blob, filename);
    }
    else{
        var elem = window.document.createElement('a');
        elem.href = window.URL.createObjectURL(blob);
        elem.download = filename;        
        document.body.appendChild(elem);
        elem.click();        
        document.body.removeChild(elem);
    }
}

Note that, depending on your situation, you may also want to call URL.revokeObjectURL after removing elem. According to the docs for URL.createObjectURL:

Each time you call createObjectURL(), a new object URL is created, even if you've already created one for the same object. Each of these must be released by calling URL.revokeObjectURL() when you no longer need them. Browsers will release these automatically when the document is unloaded; however, for optimal performance and memory usage, if there are safe times when you can explicitly unload them, you should do so.


All of the above example works just fine in chrome and IE, but fail in Firefox. Please do consider appending an anchor to the body and removing it after click.

var a = window.document.createElement('a');
a.href = window.URL.createObjectURL(new Blob(['Test,Text'], {type: 'text/csv'}));
a.download = 'test.csv';

// Append anchor to body.
document.body.appendChild(a);
a.click();

// Remove anchor from body
document.body.removeChild(a);

I'm happily using FileSaver.js. Its compatibility is pretty good (IE10+ and everything else), and it's very simple to use:

var blob = new Blob(["some text"], {
    type: "text/plain;charset=utf-8;",
});
saveAs(blob, "thing.txt");

The following method works in IE11+, Firefox 25+ and Chrome 30+:

<a id="export" class="myButton" download="" href="#">export</a>
<script>
    function createDownloadLink(anchorSelector, str, fileName){
        if(window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob) {
            var fileData = [str];
            blobObject = new Blob(fileData);
            $(anchorSelector).click(function(){
                window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob(blobObject, fileName);
            });
        } else {
            var url = "data:text/plain;charset=utf-8," + encodeURIComponent(str);
            $(anchorSelector).attr("download", fileName);               
            $(anchorSelector).attr("href", url);
        }
    }

    $(function () {
        var str = "hi,file";
        createDownloadLink("#export",str,"file.txt");
    });

</script>

See this in Action: http://jsfiddle.net/Kg7eA/

Firefox and Chrome support data URI for navigation, which allows us to create files by navigating to a data URI, while IE doesn't support it for security purposes.

On the other hand, IE has API for saving a blob, which can be used to create and download files.


This solution is extracted directly from tiddlywiki's (tiddlywiki.com) github repository. I have used tiddlywiki in almost all browsers and it works like a charm:

function(filename,text){
    // Set up the link
    var link = document.createElement("a");
    link.setAttribute("target","_blank");
    if(Blob !== undefined) {
        var blob = new Blob([text], {type: "text/plain"});
        link.setAttribute("href", URL.createObjectURL(blob));
    } else {
        link.setAttribute("href","data:text/plain," + encodeURIComponent(text));
    }
    link.setAttribute("download",filename);
    document.body.appendChild(link);
    link.click();
    document.body.removeChild(link);
}

Github repo: Download saver module


Solution that work on IE10: (I needed a csv file, but it's enough to change type and filename to txt)

var csvContent=data; //here we load our csv data 
var blob = new Blob([csvContent],{
    type: "text/csv;charset=utf-8;"
});

navigator.msSaveBlob(blob, "filename.csv")

If you just want to convert a string to be available for download you can try this using jQuery.

$('a.download').attr('href', 'data:application/csv;charset=utf-8,' + encodeURI(data));

The package js-file-download from github.com/kennethjiang/js-file-download handles edge cases for browser support:

View source to see how it uses techniques mentioned on this page.

Installation

yarn add js-file-download
npm install --save js-file-download

Usage

import fileDownload from 'js-file-download'

// fileDownload(data, filename, mime)
// mime is optional

fileDownload(data, 'filename.csv', 'text/csv')

var element = document.createElement('a');
element.setAttribute('href', 'data:text/text;charset=utf-8,' +      encodeURI(data));
element.setAttribute('download', "fileName.txt");
element.click();

As mentioned before, filesaver is a great package to work with files on the client side. But, it is not do well with large files. StreamSaver.js is an alternative solution (which is pointed in FileServer.js) that can handle large files:

const fileStream = streamSaver.createWriteStream('filename.txt', size);
const writer = fileStream.getWriter();
for(var i = 0; i < 100; i++){
    var uint8array = new TextEncoder("utf-8").encode("Plain Text");
    writer.write(uint8array);
}
writer.close()

As of April 2014, FileSytem APIs may not be standardized in W3C. Anyone looking at the solution with blob should thread with caution, I guess.

HTML5 rocks heads up

W3C Mailing List on FileSytem API


Based on @Rick answer which was really helpful.

You have to scape the string data if you want to share it this way:

$('a.download').attr('href', 'data:application/csv;charset=utf-8,'+ encodeURI(data));

` Sorry I can not comment on @Rick's answer due to my current low reputation in StackOverflow.

An edit suggestion was shared and rejected.


You can even do one better than just URI's - using Chrome you are also able to suggest the name the file will take, as explained in this blog post about naming a download when using URIs.


This below function worked.

 private createDownloadableCsvFile(fileName, content) {
   let link = document.createElement("a");
   link.download = fileName;
   link.href = `data:application/octet-stream,${content}`;
   return link;
 }

We can use the URL api, in particular URL.createObjectURL(), and the Blob api to encode and download pretty much anything.

document.body.innerHTML += 
`<a id="download" download="PATTERN.json" href="${URL.createObjectURL(new Blob([JSON.stringify("HELLO WORLD", null, 2)]))}"> Click me</a>`
download.click()
download.outerHTML = ""

Bonus! Download any cyclic objects, avoid the errors:

TypeError: cyclic object value (Firefox) TypeError: Converting

circular structure to JSON (Chrome and Opera) TypeError: Circular

reference in value argument not supported (Edge)

Using https://github.com/douglascrockford/JSON-js/blob/master/cycle.js

/* JSON.decycle */
if(typeof JSON.decycle!=="function"){JSON.decycle=function decycle(object,replacer){"use strict";var objects=new WeakMap();return(function derez(value,path){var old_path;var nu;if(replacer!==undefined){value=replacer(value)}
if(typeof value==="object"&&value!==null&&!(value instanceof Boolean)&&!(value instanceof Date)&&!(value instanceof Number)&&!(value instanceof RegExp)&&!(value instanceof String)){old_path=objects.get(value);if(old_path!==undefined){return{$ref:old_path}}
objects.set(value,path);if(Array.isArray(value)){nu=[];value.forEach(function(element,i){nu[i]=derez(element,path+"["+i+"]")})}else{nu={};Object.keys(value).forEach(function(name){nu[name]=derez(value[name],path+"["+JSON.stringify(name)+"]")})}
return nu}
return value}(object,"$"))}}


document.body.innerHTML += 
`<a id="download" download="PATTERN.json" href="${URL.createObjectURL(new Blob([JSON.stringify(JSON.decycle(document), null, 2)]))}"></a>`
download.click()


For me this worked perfectly, with the same filename and extension getting downloaded

<a href={"data:application/octet-stream;charset=utf-16le;base64," + file64 } download={title} >{title}</a>

'title' is the file name with extension i.e, sample.pdf, waterfall.jpg, etc..

'file64' is the base64 content something like this i.e, Ww6IDEwNDAsIFNsaWRpbmdTY2FsZUdyb3VwOiAiR3JvdXAgQiIsIE1lZGljYWxWaXNpdEZsYXRGZWU6IDM1LCBEZW50YWxQYXltZW50UGVyY2VudGFnZTogMjUsIFByb2NlZHVyZVBlcmNlbnQ6IDcwLKCFfSB7IkdyYW5kVG90YWwiOjEwNDAsIlNsaWRpbmdTY2FsZUdyb3VwIjoiR3JvdXAgQiIsIk1lZGljYWxWaXNpdEZsYXRGZWUiOjM1LCJEZW50YWxQYXltZW50UGVyY2VudGFnZSI6MjUsIlByb2NlZHVyZVBlcmNlbnQiOjcwLCJDcmVhdGVkX0J5IjoiVGVycnkgTGVlIiwiUGF0aWVudExpc3QiOlt7IlBhdGllbnRO


I would use an <a></a> tag then set the href='path'. Afterwards, place an image in between the <a> elements so that I can have a visual to see it. If you wanted to, you could create a function that will change the href so that it won't just be the same link but be dynamic.

Give the <a> tag an id as well if you want to access it with javascript.

Starting with the HTML Version:

<a href="mp3/tupac_shakur-how-do-you-want-it.mp3" download id="mp3Anchor">
     <img src="some image that you want" alt="some description" width="100px" height="100px" />
</a>

Now with JavaScript:

*Create a small json file*;

const array = [
     "mp3/tupac_shakur-how-do-you-want-it.mp3",
     "mp3/spice_one-born-to-die.mp3",
     "mp3/captain_planet_theme_song.mp3",
     "mp3/tenchu-intro.mp3",
     "mp3/resident_evil_nemesis-intro-theme.mp3"
];

//load this function on window
window.addEventListener("load", downloadList);

//now create a function that will change the content of the href with every click
function downloadList() {
     var changeHref=document.getElementById("mp3Anchor");

     var j = -1;

     changeHref.addEventListener("click", ()=> {

           if(j < array.length-1) {
               j +=1;
               changeHref.href=""+array[j];
          }
           else {
               alert("No more content to download");
          }
}

If the file contains text data, a technique I use is to put the text into a textarea element and have the user select it (click in textarea then ctrl-A) then copy followed by a paste to a text editor.


The following method works in IE10+, Edge, Opera, FF and Chrome:

const saveDownloadedData = (fileName, data) => {
    if(~navigator.userAgent.indexOf('MSIE') || ~navigator.appVersion.indexOf('Trident/')) { /* IE9-11 */
        const blob = new Blob([data], { type: 'text/csv;charset=utf-8;' });
        navigator.msSaveBlob(blob, fileName);
    } else {
        const link = document.createElement('a')
        link.setAttribute('target', '_blank');
        if(Blob !== undefined) {
            const blob = new Blob([data], { type: 'text/plain' });
            link.setAttribute('href', URL.createObjectURL(blob));
        } else {
            link.setAttribute('href', 'data:text/plain,' + encodeURIComponent(data));
        }

        ~window.navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Edge')
            && (fileName = fileName.replace(/[&\/\\#,+$~%.'':*?<>{}]/g, '_')); /* Edge */

        link.setAttribute('download', fileName);
        document.body.appendChild(link);
        link.click();
        document.body.removeChild(link);
    }
}

So, just call the function:

saveDownloadedData('test.txt', 'Lorem ipsum');