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A Django app for storing and processing documents and images

Project description

The django-simple-file-handler Django app uploads and manages documents and images. It is most useful when used to add these functions to your own apps, and it can also be used to add image processing and PDF generation from HTML templates.

Please note that “private” files and PDFs would be more accurately described as “hidden.” The app generates a proxy URL that will load the file for a logged-in user and stores the file with a name consisting of many random characters. Still, it is possible to load these files without logging in if the file path is known.

Quick start

  1. Run pip install django-simple-file-handler.

  2. Add django-simple-file-handler to your installed apps:

  3. Run python migrate.

  4. Include the django-simple-file-handler URLconf in your project like this (this step is only required if you wish to use private files or PDFs):

    urlpatterns = [


Public and private document objects, as well as unprocessed image objects, can be created and managed via the admin site. Other types are read-only in the admin site.

All types can be created and accessed by subclassing or creating a foreign key in your own apps.

Temporary documents and temporary PDFs are intended to be used when two or more objects might need to have the same title. These add a string of random characters to the ends of file names to prevent overwriting files.


  • PublicDocument — Includes uploaded document file

  • PrivateDocument — Includes uploaded document file with a proxy URL requiring login

  • TemporaryDocument — Includes uploaded document file with a modified file name allowing title duplication

  • UnprocessedImage — Includes uploaded image file

  • ProcessedImage — Includes uploaded image file and processed image file

  • PublicPDF — Includes generated PDF file

  • PrivatePDF — Includes generated PDF file with a proxy URL requiring login

  • TemporaryPDF — Includes generated PDF file with a modified file name allowing title duplication


  • createdDateTimeField with automatically generated value

  • updatedDateTimeField with automatically generated value

  • titleCharField with max_length of 245 characters (not available for ProcessedImage)

  • extra_textTextField (optional)

  • saved_fileFileField for the uploaded file

  • processed_fileFileField for processed image (ProcessedImage only)

  • output_widthPositiveIntegerField for processed image width in pixels (ProcessedImage only)

  • output_heightPositiveIntegerField for processed image height in pixels (ProcessedImage only)


  • file_url — Returns URL of the uploaded file as a string

  • file_link — Returns an HTML link to the URL of the uploaded file as a string

  • proxy_url — Returns proxy URL for the uploaded file as a string (PrivateDocument and PrivatePDF only)

  • proxy_link — Returns an HTML link to the proxy URL for the uploaded file as a string (PrivateDocument and PrivatePDF only)

  • image_url — Returns URL of the processed image file as a string (ProcessedImage only)

  • image_link — Returns an HTML link to the URL of the processed image file as a string (ProcessedImage only)

  • image_height — Returns an integer for the height of the processed image in pixels. (ProcessedImage only)

  • image_width — Returns an integer for the width of the processed image in pixels. (ProcessedImage only)

  • saved_file_height — Returns an integer for the height of the source image in pixels. (ProcessedImage only)

  • saved_file_width — Returns an integer for the width of the source image in pixels. (ProcessedImage only)

Processed images

Refer to the Pillow documentation for allowed import formats or see the section below on file types to limit them in your forms.

Images are processed when an instance is saved with a file assigned to the saved_file field and a value for one or both of the output_width and output_height fields. If one value is given, the image will be scaled proportionally. If both are supplied and they do not match the proportions of the source image, the image will be scaled and cropped on either the bottom or right side, depending on whether the source image is horizontal or vertical.

The processed image is stored in the processed_file field, while the original file assigned to saved_file is unchanged and can be processed again as needed. Refer to the attributes and methods list above for additional information.

By default, images are processed into PNGs with RGBA mode. To change one or more of the output parameters, add a FILE_HANDLER_PILLOW setting with a dictionary containing parameters you wish to change, as in this example:

    'output_mode': 'P',
    'content_type': 'image/gif',
    'file_format': 'GIF',
    'file_extension': 'gif',

Refer to Pillow documentation for options for these parameters.

Generating PDFs

PDF generation will use WeasyPrint if it is installed and FILE_HANDLER_WEASYPRINT = True is present in Django settings. Otherwise, it will use xhtml2pdf, which wil be installed if not present. This app has been tested with WeasyPrint 0.28. Please refer to xhtml2pdf or WeasyPrint documentation for HTML template-formatting specifics.

The example code below uses PublicPDF, but PrivatePDF and TemporaryPDF work the same way.

generated_pdf = PublicPDF.objects.create(
    title='title of the generated PDF document',
    extra_text='any additional text needed with the object',
        'value_one': value_to_be_inserted_in_template,
        'value_two': value_to_be_inserted_in_template,
        'value_three': value_to_be_inserted_in_template,

Database object attributes can then be changed without rewriting the PDF file. The file is only written when the template_data dictionary is given and the object is resaved.

File formats

If python-magic is installed, django-simple-file-handler will use it to check uploaded file MIME types. Otherwise, it will use Python’s built-in library. This package has been tested with python-magic 0.4.

Supported document formats include PDF, ZIP, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Supported unprocessed image formats include PNG, JPEG and GIF.

To support different file types, follow this example for your form:

class MyForm(ModelForm):
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)

    class Meta:
        model = PublicDocument
        fields = [

The dictionary’s format can optionally include keys with list values for file extensions, MIME types and verbose names for file formats (these will appear in error messages if given). Here is an example:

    'allowed_extensions' : [
    'allowed_mimetypes' : [
    'allowed_verbose' : [

Dictionaries included in django_simple_file_handler.file_types include:

  • CHECK_DOC — Allows ZIP, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.



  • CHECK_PDF — Allows PDF only.

  • CHECK_ALL_WEB — Allows GIF, JPEG, PNG ZIP, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

File locations

By default, images will be stored in your media directory in subdirectories named documents, images and pdf. If you wish to change the directory where these subdirectories are created, add FILE_HANDLER_DIRECTORY = 'path/to/location/' to your settings.

Advanced use

The django-simple-file-handler models and admin classes make use of modular, reusable mixins and functions that can, of course, be imported for use with your own code.

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