File Download Component

Allow viewers to download a file.

On this page:

  • This is coded for accessibility.
  • Documents must be accessible.

> Read more about making this component accessible.

Last reviewed: January 30, 2023


Use this component whenever a file needs to be made available to your visitors, either to view in a separate tab (for common formats like images or PDFs) or to download onto the visitor's device. The local system decides how to handle the file, as defined by browser settings and the user’s preference. If the browser recognizes the format, or does not have a default way to open/display it, it usually defaults to downloading the file. If the file is loaded into a new tab, the viewer will have to download it from there if desired.

While many components can sustain a link to a downloadable file, this component is specifically designed for that task, and is the only way to embed a downloadable file into your page (vs saving it first in Assets).

Using This Component

This component has one tab.

Once the file is referenced, an icon will automatically be added in front of the filename for common formats.. See examples in the right sidebar.

This includes common file types, such as:

  • MS Office documents -- ppt(x), xls(x), doc(x),
  • Generic file types -- txt, zip
  • Adobe Acrobat -- pdf
  • Image formats -- jpg, gif, tiff, png, eps
  • Media formats -- mp3

For files that are located in the UBCMS, their size will also be provided, in parentheses after the filename.

No need to state file format or size

The component automatically identifies many common file formats and adds a suitable icon and text for screen readers. It also shows the file size!

Technical Restrictions

  1. Multiple files cannot be downloaded at once with one File Download component. If you would like to add multiple files that your visitors can download, you must use a separate File Download component for each file, or bundle them into one file, e.g. as a Zip or Tar package.
  2. This component will not play multimedia files: use the Audio Player instead for audio files, and consider hosting video in YouTube then use the Video (YouTube) component.
  3. All file types are accepted but only common file formats will have matching icons.
  4. An icon will automatically be added in front of the filename, to indicate the format of standard file types: doc/x, ppt/x, txt, xls/x, jpg, gif. (See examples in the right sidebar.)
  5. For files that are located in the UBCMS, their size will also be provided, in parentheses after the filename.
  6. As a general rule, please keep files under 50MB in size. If you would like to process largeer files please let us know.
  7. State and federal rules and UB policy require documents to be accessible (> read more on accessible documents).
No Super-Sized Files

Please do not embed files larger than 50MB in size.

Best Practices

Assets is a handy place to centrally manage your images and other files, such as multimedia files, Word documents, spreadsheets or PDFs whether they are embedded in components or provided as downloads. Assets are readily available for use by everyone on your team, and can also be used on multiple pages (or sites) as needed to support your business needs. They also only need to be published once to be visible in every placement, whereas content embedded into a specific page must be republished every time that page is modified.

This is especially the case for large files. Hosting them in Assets instead of embedding them in your page reduces the load on our publishers. Referenced files are pulled from Assets when needed, instead of being loaded directly with your page. They also do not need to be published when your page is created or modified, which reduces the load on our servers.

  • The UBCMS blocks images larger than 8,096 px (height or width) from being uploaded into a page, but there is no size limit for images uploaded into Assets.
  • Rule of thumb, 'large' is 20 MB for an image or document. Also keep the total volume for a whole page under 50 MB.
  • Video can get especially large, so when they must be saved in the UBCMS, these files should always be stored in Assets, but strongly encourage they instead be hosted on other platforms such as YouTube, or Panopto.
  • Tip: use Shared Content pages and a List Builder to show a teaser for each child page and then host them on your main page for a smooth user experience.

If you must have a very large volume of content on a page (say over 200 MB), please let us know in advance before you publish it.

  • We will coordinate  the best publishing time with you so the replication queue does not block routine page publications by other units. We may request off peak hours (e.g. during the early morning or evening).

Configure - Main Settings

Click the wrench icon to 'configure' these settings.

Settings Tab

Link text: Label the file download link. Leave the field blank to use the file's name; e.g. 'Org-Chart.pdf.'

File Location: Choose between 'UBCMS file' and 'External link.'

For a UBCMS file, select the file you wish to be downloaded. UBCMS files can be uploaded just to the current page, but for site maintenance purposes, it is often better to put them in the Digital Asset Manager (DAM) first, then pull them onto the page.

  • For a file in the DAM, locate it using the Content Finder and then drag it across into the rectangular area (delineated by a dotted line) that says Drop an asset or click to upload.
  • For a file on your desktop, click within the rectangular area and then click the Browse button to select the file and then upload it to the UBCMS. (Your file will not be stored in the DAM if you choose this method.)
  • Because these files are located in the UBCMS, their size will also be provided in parentheses after the filename.

For an External link, a new field appears.

External link: Provide the complete URL to your file, including the http:// or https:// prefix; e.g.

Accessibility Concerns

See an Example

Watch a Training Video

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