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How to force a file to download instead of open in the browser using only HTML

One of the questions I get asked relatively often is how to force a file to download instead of opening directly in the browser.

For example, let’s say you have a PDF receipt or an MP3 file that you want to let people download. You might point that to that file with a link.

<a href="/path/to/your/receipt.pdf">Download Receipt</a>

In most browsers, clicking on the link will open the file directly in the browser.

But, if you add the download attribute to the link, it will tell the browser to download the file instead.

<a href="/path/to/your/receipt.pdf" download>Download Receipt</a>

The download attribute works in all modern browsers, including MS Edge, but not Internet Explorer.

In the latest versions of Chrome, you cannot download cross-origin files (they have to be hosted on the same domain).