How to show a PDF file in a Django view?

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Question :

How to show a PDF file in a Django view?

Is it possible to show a PDF file in the Django view, rather than making the user have to download it to see it?

And if it is possible, how would it be done?

This is what I have so far –

def resume(request, applicant_id):

    #Get the applicant's resume
    resume = File.objects.get(applicant=applicant_id)
    fsock = open(resume.location, 'r')
    response = HttpResponse(fsock, mimetype='application/pdf')

    return response
Asked By: SImon


Answer #1:

Django has a class specifically for returning files, FileResponse. It streams files, so that you don’t have to read the entire file into memory before returning it. Here you go:

from django.http import FileResponse, Http404

def pdf_view(request):
        return FileResponse(open('foobar.pdf', 'rb'), content_type='application/pdf')
    except FileNotFoundError:
        raise Http404()

If you have really large files or if you’re doing this a lot, a better option would probably be to serve these files outside of Django using normal server configuration.

Answered By: Flimm

Answer #2:

Simplistically, if you have a PDF file and you want to output it through a Django view, all you need to do is dump the file contents into the response and send it with the appropriate mimetype.

def pdf_view(request):
    with open('/path/to/my/file.pdf', 'r') as pdf:
        response = HttpResponse(, mimetype='application/pdf')
        response['Content-Disposition'] = 'inline;filename=some_file.pdf'
        return response

You can probably just return the response directly without specifying Content-Disposition, but that better indicates your intention and also allows you specify the filename just in case the user decides to save it.

Also, note that the view above doesn’t handle the scenario where the file cannot be opened or read for whatever reason. Since it’s done with with, it won’t raise any exceptions, but you still must return some sort of response. You could simply raise an Http404 or something, though.

Answered By: Chris Pratt

Answer #3:

If you are working on a Windows machine pdf must be opened as rb not r.

def pdf_view(request):
    with open('/path / to /name.pdf', 'rb') as pdf:
        response = HttpResponse(,content_type='application/pdf')
        response['Content-Disposition'] = 'filename=some_file.pdf'
        return response
Answered By: MKM

Answer #4:

Take out inline; if you want your file to be read from server. And also, the HttpResponse kwarg mimetype has been replaced by content_type:

(response['Content-Disposition'] = 'inline;filename=some_file.pdf')

def pdf_view(request):
    with open('/app/../Test.pdf', 'r') as pdf:
        response = HttpResponse(,content_type='application/pdf')
        response['Content-Disposition'] = 'filename=some_file.pdf'
        return response
Answered By: gajanan hegde

Answer #5:

Following @radtek’s answer above I decided to investigate a class-based view display. I tried to use View but it didn’t have get_context_data() method.

I looked here for some guidance. I settled for BaseDetailView since I wanted to display just one object.

from django.http import FileResponse
from django.shortcuts import get_object_or_404
from django.views.generic.detail import BaseDetailView

class DisplayPdfView(BaseDetailView):
    def get(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        objkey = self.kwargs.get('pk', None) #1
        pdf = get_object_or_404(Pdf, pk=objkey) #2
        fname = pdf.filename() #3
        path = os.path.join(settings.MEDIA_ROOT, 'docs\' + fname)#4
        response = FileResponse(open(path, 'rb'), content_type="application/pdf")
        response["Content-Disposition"] = "filename={}".format(fname)
        return response


1 This line accesses a named argument pk passed by the url calling the view.

2 This line gets the actual pdf model object.

3 I defined a method filename(self): return os.path.basename( in my model to help me get just the filename plus extension.

4 This line gets the complete filepath.

Then use file response as explained in the answers above. Also remember to use rb to read the pdf file

Answered By: chidimo

Answer #6:

Here is a typical use-case for displaying a PDF using class-based views:

from django.contrib.auth.decorators import login_required
from django.http import HttpResponse

class DisplayPDFView(View):

    def get_context_data(self, **kwargs):  # Exec 1st
        context = {}
        # context logic here
        return context

    def get(self, request, *args, **kwargs):
        context = self.get_context_data()
        response = HttpResponse(content_type='application/pdf')
        response['Content-Disposition'] = 'inline; filename="worksheet_pdf.pdf"'  # Can use attachment or inline

        # pdf generation logic here
        # open an existing pdf or generate one using i.e. reportlab

        return response

# Remove login_required if view open to public
display_pdf_view = login_required(DisplayPDFView.as_view())

For generating your own pdf with reportlab see the Django project Docs on PDF Generation.

Chris Pratt’s response shows a good example of opening existing PDFs.

Answered By: radtek

Answer #7:

Browsers aren’t PDF readers (unless they have the proper plugin/addon).

You may want to render the PDF as HTML instead, which can be done from the backend or the frontend.

Answered By: Gonzalo

Answer #8:

it worked for me

import re, os
import os
from django.http import HttpResponse
from django.views.decorators.csrf import csrf_exempt
def export_auto_doc(request):
    name = request.GET.get('name', "")
    filename = "path/to/file"+name+".pdf"
        if not"^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$",name):
            raise ValueError("Filename wrong format")
        elif not os.path.isfile(filename):
            raise ValueError("Filename doesn't exist")
            with open(filename, 'r') as pdf:
                response = HttpResponse(, content_type='application/pdf')
                response['Content-Disposition'] = 'inline;filename='+name+'.pdf'
                return response
    except ValueError as e:
Answered By: German Lopez

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