I have a download button in my visualforce page, on clicking which a text file(.txt format) has to be downloaded. This text file will be created dynamically with the data stored in a Text field of a custom object. Now I am struggling to achieve this simple download functionality without creating Attachments or Document Objects. Is there any possible way to download content as plain text file? Could someone please help me with this?

I have tried the below visualforce code, but it is not downloading any files.

<a href="data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,{!getEncodedData}"> Download </a></apex:outputLabel>

where getEncodedData will be the text file body.

Apex code:

getEncodedData = EncodingUtil.base64Encode(Blob.valueOf(strContent));

I am trying to achieve this without creating Attachments, simply because the created file will not be reused later.


Try adding the download attribute to your link. You can read about this attributte on the Mozilla Developer Network. It notifies the browser to treat the url as a file download, and works with base64 data urls.

This snippet downloads a plaintext file for me.

<a href="data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,{!FileContents}" download="description.txt">Download</a>

This snippet also uses the same encoding method as you do in your controller.

public String getFileContents() {
    return EncodingUtil.base64Encode(Blob.valueOf(description));

If clicking on the link you are currently using doesn't at least bring you to a page with the text content you are using on the page, then you may have a deeper issue you will need to identify.

Additionally, you can use <apex:outputLink>..</apex:outputLink> to generate the link. The html- prefix will pass any given attribute over to the generated html content, allowing you to access the download attribute through visualforce.

<apex:outputLink value="data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,{!FileContents}" html-download="description.txt">Download.. </apex:outputLink>
  • Thanks a lot..!! This is exactly what I was looking for.:-) . Well the download part is fine, but empty file is getting downloaded, i could see that my JS function(which will call action fn to assign file content) on Onclick event, is called after file download. Any idea where I am getting wrong? May 4 '16 at 14:48
  • Can you add your javascript to the question? May 4 '16 at 15:06
  • please find more info on the above edited post May 4 '16 at 15:18
  • Your javascript function seems to be pointing to an apex method which does not exist (action="{!fetchContent}"). Even if the function was changed to fetch(), you would be required to rerender your link in order to get the non-null value from getEncodedData. May 4 '16 at 15:24
  • 1
    And will raise another Question.. :-).. Vote up for your helpful time...!! May 4 '16 at 15:54

You can try to make visualforce page that is render as txt that display required field value

<apex:page standardController="Account" contentType="text/plain/#description.txt"> 
   <apex:outputText value="{!Account.Description}"/>

Here is original answer -- https://developer.salesforce.com/forums/?id=906F000000097saIAA.

  • This seems to have worked for me! I'm not sure where the specs for the final /#description.txt descriptor comes from but it's working in Safari. Hopefully this will now also work for Edge, Firefox and Chrome on Windows.
    – Marty C.
    Feb 22 '17 at 15:42

I resolved it using the javaScript download function, as the href usage fails to write the filecontent in this case. Here the exact flow.

Visualforce Code:

<apex:outputLabel onClick="javascript:fnDownloadContent('{!lstDet.ID}','{!lstDet.compId}');" >Download</apex:outputLabel>  
<apex:actionfunction name="actDnldContent" action="{!dnld_Content}" reRender="" oncomplete="javascript:download('{!filename}','{!getData}');">
<apex:param name="Id" value="" assignTo="{!Id}" />
<apex:param name="compId" value="" assignTo="{!CompId}"/>                                                                     

JavaSript function:

function fnDownloadContent(ID, compID)
    actDnldContent(ID, compID);         
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';

In the above code, the 'filename' and 'getData' variables will be set on calling the Apex method 'dnld_Content' in the Apex Controller.

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