Download files

The Drive API supports three types of downloads:

  • Downloads of files stored in Google Drive.
  • Downloads of exported versions of Google Workspace files (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and so on) in formats that your app can handle.
  • Downloads of a file using the URL in the webContentLink property.

The rest of this guide provides detailed instructions for performing these types of downloads.

Download a file stored on Google Drive

To download a file stored on Google Drive, use the files.get method with the ID of the file to download and the alt=media URL parameter. The alt=media URL parameter tells the server that a download of content is being requested.

The following code snippet shows how to download a file with the Drive API client libraries.

Java

String fileId = "0BwwA4oUTeiV1UVNwOHItT0xfa2M";
OutputStream outputStream = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
driveService.files().get(fileId)
    .executeMediaAndDownloadTo(outputStream);

Python

file_id = '0BwwA4oUTeiV1UVNwOHItT0xfa2M'
request = drive_service.files().get_media(fileId=file_id)
fh = io.BytesIO()
downloader = MediaIoBaseDownload(fh, request)
done = False
while done is False:
    status, done = downloader.next_chunk()
    print "Download %d%%." % int(status.progress() * 100)

Node.js

var fileId = '0BwwA4oUTeiV1UVNwOHItT0xfa2M';
var dest = fs.createWriteStream('/tmp/photo.jpg');
drive.files.get({
  fileId: fileId,
  alt: 'media'
})
    .on('end', function () {
      console.log('Done');
    })
    .on('error', function (err) {
      console.log('Error during download', err);
    })
    .pipe(dest);

.NET

drive/snippets/drive_v3/DriveV3Snippets/DownloadFile.cs
using Google.Apis.Auth.OAuth2;
using Google.Apis.Download;
using Google.Apis.Drive.v3;
using Google.Apis.Services;

namespace DriveV3Snippets
{
    // Class to demonstrate use-case of drive's download file.
    public class DownloadFile
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Download a Document file in PDF format.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="fileId">file ID of any workspace document format file.</param>
        /// <returns>byte array stream if successful, null otherwise.</returns>
        public static MemoryStream DriveDownloadFile(string fileId)
        {
            try
            {
                /* Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
                 TODO(developer) - See https://developers.google.com/identity for 
                 guides on implementing OAuth2 for your application. */
                GoogleCredential credential = GoogleCredential
                    .GetApplicationDefault()
                    .CreateScoped(DriveService.Scope.Drive);

                // Create Drive API service.
                var service = new DriveService(new BaseClientService.Initializer
                {
                    HttpClientInitializer = credential,
                    ApplicationName = "Drive API Snippets"
                });

                var request = service.Files.Get(fileId);
                var stream = new MemoryStream();

                // Add a handler which will be notified on progress changes.
                // It will notify on each chunk download and when the
                // download is completed or failed.
                request.MediaDownloader.ProgressChanged +=
                    progress =>
                    {
                        switch (progress.Status)
                        {
                            case DownloadStatus.Downloading:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine(progress.BytesDownloaded);
                                break;
                            }
                            case DownloadStatus.Completed:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine("Download complete.");
                                break;
                            }
                            case DownloadStatus.Failed:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine("Download failed.");
                                break;
                            }
                        }
                    };
                request.Download(stream);

                return stream;
            }
            catch (Exception e)
            {
                // TODO(developer) - handle error appropriately
                if (e is AggregateException)
                {
                    Console.WriteLine("Credential Not found");
                }
                else
                {
                    throw;
                }
            }
            return null;
        }
    }
}

This snippet uses a library method which adds the alt=media URL parameter to the underlying HTTP request.

File downloads initiated from your app require at least read access to the file. Your app must be authorized with a scope that allows file content read access. For example, an app using the drive.readonly.metadata scope would not be authorized to download the file contents. Users with edit permission may restrict downloading by read-only users by setting the viewersCanCopyContent field to false. To learn more about scopes, refer to Authenticate your users.

Files identified as abusive (malware, etc.) are only downloadable by the owner. Additionally, the query parameter acknowledgeAbuse=true must be included to indicate that the user has acknowledged the risk of downloading potential malware. Your application should interactively warn the user before using this query parameter.

Partial download

Partial download involves downloading only a specified portion of a file. You can specify the portion of the file you want to download by using a byte range with the Range header. For example:

Range: bytes=500-999

Download a Google Workspace Document

Download Google Workspace documents using the files.export method. Exports use the same alt=media approach as downloading other content in Drive.

The following examples demonstrate how to download a Google Workspace Document in PDF format using the client libraries:

Java

String fileId = "1ZdR3L3qP4Bkq8noWLJHSr_iBau0DNT4Kli4SxNc2YEo";
OutputStream outputStream = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
driveService.files().export(fileId, "application/pdf")
    .executeMediaAndDownloadTo(outputStream);

Python

file_id = '1ZdR3L3qP4Bkq8noWLJHSr_iBau0DNT4Kli4SxNc2YEo'
request = drive_service.files().export_media(fileId=file_id,
                                             mimeType='application/pdf')
fh = io.BytesIO()
downloader = MediaIoBaseDownload(fh, request)
done = False
while done is False:
    status, done = downloader.next_chunk()
    print "Download %d%%." % int(status.progress() * 100)

Node.js

var fileId = '1ZdR3L3qP4Bkq8noWLJHSr_iBau0DNT4Kli4SxNc2YEo';
var dest = fs.createWriteStream('/tmp/resume.pdf');
drive.files.export({
  fileId: fileId,
  mimeType: 'application/pdf'
})
    .on('end', function () {
      console.log('Done');
    })
    .on('error', function (err) {
      console.log('Error during download', err);
    })
    .pipe(dest);

.NET

drive/snippets/drive_v3/DriveV3Snippets/ExportPdf.cs
using Google.Apis.Auth.OAuth2;
using Google.Apis.Download;
using Google.Apis.Drive.v3;
using Google.Apis.Services;

namespace DriveV3Snippets
{
    // Class to demonstrate use of Drive export pdf
    public class ExportPdf
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Download a Document file in PDF format.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="fileId">Id of the file.</param>
        /// <returns>Byte array stream if successful, null otherwise</returns>
        public static MemoryStream DriveExportPdf(string fileId)
        {
            try
            {
                /* Load pre-authorized user credentials from the environment.
                 TODO(developer) - See https://developers.google.com/identity for 
                 guides on implementing OAuth2 for your application. */
                GoogleCredential credential = GoogleCredential.GetApplicationDefault()
                    .CreateScoped(DriveService.Scope.Drive);

                // Create Drive API service.
                var service = new DriveService(new BaseClientService.Initializer
                {
                    HttpClientInitializer = credential,
                    ApplicationName = "Drive API Snippets"
                });

                var request = service.Files.Export(fileId, "application/pdf");
                var stream = new MemoryStream();
                // Add a handler which will be notified on progress changes.
                // It will notify on each chunk download and when the
                // download is completed or failed.
                request.MediaDownloader.ProgressChanged +=
                    progress =>
                    {
                        switch (progress.Status)
                        {
                            case DownloadStatus.Downloading:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine(progress.BytesDownloaded);
                                break;
                            }
                            case DownloadStatus.Completed:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine("Download complete.");
                                break;
                            }
                            case DownloadStatus.Failed:
                            {
                                Console.WriteLine("Download failed.");
                                break;
                            }
                        }
                    };
                request.Download(stream);
                return stream;
            }
            catch (Exception e)
            {
                // TODO(developer) - handle error appropriately
                if (e is AggregateException)
                {
                    Console.WriteLine("Credential Not found");
                }
                else
                {
                    throw;
                }
            }
            return null;
        }
    }
}

The snippet declares the MIME type for export as application/pdf. For a complete list of all MIME types supported for each Google Workspace document, refer to Google Workspace documents and corresponding export MIME types

Viewing files in a browser

If you want to allow a user to view a file directly in a web browser instead of through the API, use the webContentLink. You can either redirect a user to this URL, or offer it as a clickable link. The file must be either owned by or shared with the user in order to view it.