I am trying to add a link to a managed pdf file to the footer menu. Right now I am using a controller which uses a specific route in order to download the file:

// src/Controller/DownloadController.php
class DownloadController extends ControllerBase {
  public function downloadPdf() {
    $config = \Drupal::config('example.settings');
    $pdf = $config->get('pdf');
    if ($pdf) {
      $file = File::load($pdf[0]);
      $filename = $file->getFileName();
      header("Content-Type: application/pdf");
      header("Content-Disposition: attachment;filename=$filename");
      print file_get_contents($file->getFileUri());

// example.routing.yml
  path: 'example/download'
    _controller: '\Drupal\example\Controller\DownloadController::downloadPdf'
    _title: 'Download PDF'
    _permission: 'access content'

After I have activated the module I added a new link named Download PDF to the footer menu. This link points to example/download, this seems to work, but I was wondering if there is a better approach. If possible, I would like to add the path to the file to new menu item instead.

  • You know you can just add a regular menu link item that points to a file, right?
    – Kevin
    Jul 15, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    I see what you are doing here, and I would politely ask if you could find a way to write a Media extension that forces a file download in the browser instead of go to the media view page (e.g. media/{id}/download). That would be way more flexible and something I have wanted to do but not had time to write.
    – Kevin
    Jul 15, 2017 at 19:11
  • @Kevin - Great idea, I will look into this when I'm done with my current project. I'll keep you posted =) Jul 15, 2017 at 21:38
  • @Kevin - Are you talking about writing an extension to an existing module? I'm not able to goto media/id for any file in my current installation? Jul 15, 2017 at 23:37
  • 1
    You need the media modules if you aren't on 8.4.x. It turns files into media entities and lots of other things.
    – Kevin
    Jul 15, 2017 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


For menu items, you can quickly configure the contributed menu_link_attributes module to include a download link attribute.

It's a 'low code' option if there ever was one; the module even has a user interface right on your site for customizing your configuration:

  1. add the module: composer require drupal/menu_link_attributes
  2. enable the module: drush en menu_link_attributes
  3. visit the 'manage attributes' configuration page at /admin/config/menu_link_attributes/config
  4. add the following lines to the end of the edit textarea (note the indentation; it should have 2 spaces in front of the first line and 4 in front of the second line):
        filename: ''
  5. add a menu item in the menu of your choice (example using the main menu: /admin/structure/menu/manage/main/add)
  6. in the 'attributes' section of the 'Add menu link' page, enter a filename in the 'download' textfield and save the new link with the other desired values
  7. export your configuration to code: drush cex

Your new configuration should look something like the following:

    label: ''
    description: ''
    description: 'Enter a name to assign to the file. Leave this field blank to exclude the download attribute.'
    filename: ''
    label: ''
    description: ''
      _blank: 'New window (_blank)'
      _self: 'Same window (_self)'
    default_value: ''

I've added a merge request to include the download attribute out of the box, tho I've also indicated it is a minor request. The MR implements the download attributed as described in MDN documentation.

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