AngularJS Download File From Server - Best way with Java Spring Backend

Here's how you can download a file from server using AngularJS.

In this example, the client sends a API call to Java server to download a file /api/download/{id} and server sends the base64 data stream download for a given file id.

Below is the snippet from working code. The code is pretty descriptive.
This will allow you to download any type of file.

AngularJS controller method:

function downloadReportFile(fileId) {
    Download.downloadQueuedReport({id: fileId}, function (response) {

        var anchor = angular.element('<a/>');
            href: 'data:application/octet-stream;base64,' +,
            target: '_self',
            download: response.headers.filename        });



AngularJS service to do the API call:

'downloadQueuedReport': {
    method: 'GET',
    url: 'api/download/:id',
    params: {id: '@id'},
    transformResponse: function (data, headers) {
        var response = {}; = data;
        // take note of headers() call        response.headers = headers();
        return response;

Spring Powered Backend REST API 

@RequestMapping(value = "api/download/{id}",
    method = RequestMethod.GET,
 public ResponseEntity<byte[]> downloadReportFile(@PathVariable Long id) {
    log.debug("REST request to download report file");

    File file = getReportFile(id); // a method that returns file for given ID
    if (!file.exists()) { // handle FNF
        return ResponseEntity.status(HttpStatus.INTERNAL_SERVER_ERROR).body(null);

    try {
        FileSystemResource fileResource = new FileSystemResource(file);

        byte[] base64Bytes = Base64.encodeBase64(IOUtils.toByteArray(fileResource.getInputStream()));

        HttpHeaders headers = new HttpHeaders();
        headers.add("filename", fileResource.getFilename());

        return ResponseEntity.ok().headers(headers).body(base64Bytes);
    } catch (IOException e) {
        log.error("Failed to download file ", e);
        return ResponseEntity.status(HttpStatus.INTERNAL_SERVER_ERROR).body(null);