How to Set HTTP Content Type PDF in Java

Are you looking for a way to set the HTTP content type to PDF in your Java application? In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process step by step. By the end of this guide, you will be able to serve PDF files with the correct content type, ensuring proper rendering and downloading in web browsers.

Step 1: Adding Required Dependencies

To work with PDF files in Java, we need to add the necessary dependencies to our project. The most commonly used library for handling PDFs in Java is iText. You can add the iText dependency to your project by including the following Maven coordinates:


Step 2: Setting the HTTP Content Type

Once we have the necessary dependencies in our project, we can proceed to set the HTTP content type for PDF files. The content type informs the web browser about the type of data it is receiving. In the case of PDF files, the content type should be set to application/pdf. Here’s a simple Java code snippet that demonstrates how to set the content type:


Make sure to set this content type before writing the PDF file to the response output stream.

Step 3: Generating a PDF File

Now that we have set the content type, we can generate the PDF file using iText. In this example, let’s assume we want to create a simple PDF document with the text “Hello, World!”. Here’s a code snippet that demonstrates how to generate a PDF using iText:

Document document = new Document();
PdfWriter.getInstance(document, response.getOutputStream());;
document.add(new Paragraph("Hello, World!"));

Make sure to replace “Hello, World!” with the actual content you want to include in your PDF file.

Step 4: Sending the PDF File to the Client

After generating the PDF file, we need to send it to the client. This can be done by writing the PDF document to the response output stream. Here’s a code snippet that demonstrates how to do this:

response.setHeader("Content-Disposition", "attachment; filename="example.pdf"");

Make sure to replace “example.pdf” with the desired filename for your PDF file.

Step 5: Testing the Application

Now that you have implemented the necessary code, it’s time to test your application. Start your Java web server and open a web browser. Navigate to the URL where your PDF file is served, and you should see the PDF document displayed or downloaded, depending on your browser settings.


Setting the HTTP content type to PDF in Java is a crucial step to ensure proper rendering and downloading of PDF files in web browsers. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can easily set the content type and generate PDF files using the iText library. Remember to include the necessary dependencies and test your application to verify its functionality. Happy coding!





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