Working with Files, Folders and File References

This chapter provides some examples about interacting with File, Folder and FileReference objects.

Getting a file

A file can be retrieved using its uid:

$resourceFactory = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$file = $resourceFactory->getFileObject(4);

or its combined identifier:

$resourceFactory = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$file = $resourceFactory->getFileObjectFromCombinedIdentifier('1:/foo.txt');

The syntax of argument 1 for getFileObjectFromCombinedIdentifier is

[[storage uid]:]<file identifier>

The storage uid is optional. If it is not specified, the default storage (virtual storage with uid=0) is used.

Copying a file

$storageUid = 17;
$someFileIdentifier = 'templates/images/banner.jpg';
$someFolderIdentifier = 'website/images/';

$resourceFactory = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$storage = $resourceFactory->getStorageObject($storageUid);

// $file returns a TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\File object
$file = $storage->getFile($someFileIdentifier);
// $folder returns a TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\Folder object
$folder = $storage->getFolder($someFolderIdentifier);

// returns the TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\File object of the new, copied file
$copiedFile = $file->copyTo($folder);

Adding a file

This example adds a new file in the root folder of the default Storage:

$resourceFactory = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$storage = $resourceFactory->getDefaultStorage();
$newFile = $storage->addFile(

The default storage uses fileadmin unless this was configured differently, as explained in Storages and drivers.

So, for this example, the resulting file path would typically be <document-root>/fileadmin/tmp/temporary_file_name.ext

Creating a file reference

In the backend context

In the backend or command-line context, it is possible to create file references using the DataHandler processes (\TYPO3\CMS\Core\DataHandling\DataHandler).

Assuming you have the "uid" of both the File and whatever other item you want to create a relation to, the following code will create the "sys_file_reference" entry and the relation to the other item (in this case a "tt_content" record).

$resourceFactory = ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$fileObject = $resourceFactory->getFileObject((int)$file);
$contentElement = BackendUtility::getRecord(
// Assemble DataHandler data
$newId = 'NEW1234';
$data = [];
$data['sys_file_reference'][$newId] = [
        'table_local' => 'sys_file',
        'uid_local' => $fileObject->getUid(),
        'tablenames' => 'tt_content',
        'uid_foreign' => $contentElement['uid'],
        'fieldname' => 'assets',
        'pid' => $contentElement['pid']
$data['tt_content'][$contentElement['uid']] = [
        'assets' => $newId
// Get an instance of the DataHandler and process the data
/** @var DataHandler $dataHandler */
$dataHandler = GeneralUtility::makeInstance(DataHandler::class);
$dataHandler->start($data, []);
// Error or success reporting
if (count($dataHandler->errorLog) === 0) {
    // Handle success
} else {
    // Handle errors

The above example comes from the "examples" extension (reference:

Here, the 'fieldname' 'assets' is used instead of image. Content elements of ctype 'textmedia' use the field 'assets'.

For another table than "tt_content", you need to define the "pid" explicitly when creating the relation:

$data['tt_address'][$address['uid']] = [
    'pid' => $address['pid'],
    'image' => 'NEW1234' // changed automatically

In the frontend context

In a frontend context, the \TYPO3\CMS\Core\DataHandling\DataHandler class cannot be used and there is no specific API to create a File Reference. You are on your own.

The simplest solution is to create a database entry into table "sys_file_reference" by using the database connection class provided by TYPO3 CMS.

A cleaner solution using Extbase requires far more work. An example can be found here:

Getting referenced files

This snippet shows how to retrieve FAL items that have been attached to some other element, in this case the "media" field of the "pages" table:

$fileRepository = GeneralUtility::makeInstance(\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\FileRepository::class);
$fileObjects = $fileRepository->findByRelation('pages', 'media', $uid);

where $uid is the id of some page. The return value is an array of \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\FileReference objects.

Listing files in a folder

These would be the shortest steps to get the list of files in a given folder: get the Storage, get a Folder object for some path in that Storage (path relative to Storage root), finally retrieve the files.

$resourceFactory = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\ResourceFactory::getInstance();
$defaultStorage = $resourceFactory->getDefaultStorage();
$folder = $defaultStorage->getFolder('/some/path/in/storage/');
$files = $defaultStorage->getFilesInFolder($folder);