# Assets

The /assets endpoint can be used to stream or retrieve the actual file contents from assets managed within Directus.

Uploading Files

To learn more about uploading files, see the Upload a File and Import a File endpoints.

# Accessing an Original File

The location of your actual file originals is based on the project's configuration, but you can consistently access them via the API using the following URL.


Original File Original File Used — 602KB and 1800x1200

Direct File Access

While you may technically be able to expose your storage adapters root filesystem and access your raw files through there, it is recommended that you always use the Directus API. This is the only way that you can take advantage of file permissions and other built-in features.

# Requesting a Thumbnail

Fetching thumbnails is as easy as adding query parameters to the original file's URL. If a requested thumbnail doesn't yet exist, it is dynamically generated and immediately returned. When requesting a thumbnail, the following parameters are all required, supports thumbnail for jpeg,png and webp

  • fit — The fit of the thumbnail while always preserving the aspect ratio, can be any of the following options:
    • cover — Covers both width/height by cropping/clipping to fit
    • contain — Contain within both width/height using "letterboxing" as needed
    • inside — Resize to be as large as possible, ensuring dimensions are less than or equal to the requested width and height
    • outside — Resize to be as small as possible, ensuring dimensions are greater than or equal to the requested width and height
  • width — The width of the thumbnail in pixels
  • height — The height of the thumbnail in pixels
  • quality — The quality of the thumbnail (1 to 100) is Optional
  • withoutEnlargement — Disable image up-scaling
  • download — Add Content-Disposition header and force browser to download file

Alternatively, you can reference a specific thumbnail by its preset key.


# Cover vs Contain

For easier comparison, both of the examples below were requested at 200 width, 200 height, and 75 quality. The cover thumbnail forces the dimensions, trimming the outside edges as needed. The contain thumbnail always maintains its aspect ratio, shrinking the image to fit within the dimensions and adding "letterboxing" as needed.

Cover Contain
8KB • 200x200
6KB • 200x133

Aspect Ratio

Images are never stretched or distorted even when changing the aspect ratio.

# Quality vs Filesize

The quality parameter can be any integer from 0-100. Qualities closer to 0 have lower filesizes, but also poor image quality due to compression artifacts. Values closer to 100 have larger filesizes, but better image quality. Below are four possible qualities (200x200 cover) to visually compare the balance between compression and filesize.

25% 50% 75% 100%

# Downloading a File

To download an asset with the correct filename, you need to add the ?download query parameter to the request and the download attribute to your anchor tag. This will ensure the appropriate Content-Disposition (opens new window) headers are added. Without this, the download will work on the same domain, however it will have the file's "id" as the filename for cross-origin requests.


<a href="https://your-directus.com/assets/<file-id>?download" target="_blank" download="Your File.pdf">Download</a>