Docspell Documentation

This page describes, how files can get into docspell. Technically, there is just one way: via http multipart/form-data requests.

Authenticated Upload🔗

From within the web application there is the "Upload Files" page. There you can select multiple files to upload. You can also specify whether these files should become one item or if every file is a separate item.

When you click "Submit" the files are uploaded and stored in the database. Then the job executor(s) are notified which immediately start processing them.

Go to the top-right menu and click "Processing Queue" to see the current state.

This obviously requires an authenticated user. While this is handy for ad-hoc uploads, it is very inconvenient for automating it by custom scripts. For this the next variant exists.

Anonymous Upload🔗

It is also possible to upload files without authentication. This should make tools that interact with docspell much easier to write. The Android Client App uses these urls to upload files.

Go to "Collective Settings" and then to the "Source" tab. A Source identifies an endpoint where files can be uploaded anonymously. Creating a new source creates a long unique id which is part of an url that can be used to upload files. You can choose any time to deactivate or delete the source at which point uploading is not possible anymore. The idea is to give this URL away safely. You can delete it any time and no passwords or secrets are visible, even your username is not visible.

Example screenshot:

This example shows a source with name "test". Besides a description and a name that is only used for displaying purposes, a priority and a folder can be specified.

The priority is used for the processing jobs that are submitted when files are uploaded via this endpoint.

The folder is used to place all items, that result from uploads to this endpoint, into this folder.

The source endpoint defines two urls:

  • /app/upload/<id>
  • /api/v1/open/upload/item/<id>

The first points to a web page where everyone could upload files into your account. You could give this url to people for sending files directly into your docspell.

The second url is the API url, which accepts the requests to upload files. This second url can be used with the Android Client App to upload files.

Another example is to use curl for uploading files from the command line::

$ curl -XPOST -F file=@test.pdf
{"success":true,"message":"Files submitted."}

There is a script provided that uses curl to upload files from the command line more conveniently.

When files are uploaded to an source endpoint, the items resulting from this uploads are marked with the name of the source. So you know which source an item originated. There is also a counter incremented for each reqest.

If files are uploaded using the web applications Upload files page, the source is implicitly set to webapp. If you also want to let docspell count the files uploaded through the web interface, just create a source (can be inactive) with that name (webapp).

Integration Endpoint🔗

Another option for uploading files is the special integration endpoint. This endpoint allows an admin to upload files to any collective, that is known by name.


The endpoint is behind /api/v1/open, so this route is not protected by an authentication token (see REST Api for more information). However, it can be protected via settings in the configuration file. The idea is that this endpoint is controlled by an administrator and not the user of the application. The admin can enable this endpoint and choose between some methods to protect it. Then the administrator can upload files to any collective. This might be useful to connect other trusted applications to docspell (that run on the same host or network).

The endpoint is disabled by default, an admin must change the docspell.server.integration-endpoint.enabled flag to true in the configuration file.

If queried by a GET request, it returns whether it is enabled and the collective exists.

It is also possible to check for existing files using their sha256 checksum with:


See the SMTP gateway or the consumedir script for examples to use this endpoint.

The Request🔗

This gives more details about the request for uploads. It is a http multipart/form-data request, with two possible fields:

  • meta
  • file

The file field can appear multiple times and is required at least once. It is the part containing the file to upload.

The meta part is completely optional and can define additional meta data, that docspell uses to create items from the given files. It allows to transfer structured information together with the unstructured binary files.

The meta content must be application/json containing this structure:

{ multiple: Bool
, direction: Maybe String
, folder: Maybe String
, skipDuplicates: Bool

The multiple property is by default true. It means that each file in the upload request corresponds to a single item. An upload with 5 files will result in 5 items created. If it is false, then docspell will create just one item, that will then contain all files.

Furthermore, the direction of the document (one of incoming or outgoing) can be given. It is optional, it can be left out or null.

A folder id can be specified. Each item created by this request will be placed into this folder. Errors are logged (for example, the folder may have been deleted before the task is executed) and the item is then not put into any folder.

The skipDuplicates is optional and set to false if not specified. It configures the processing task. If set to true, the processing task will skip all input files that are already present in docspell.

This kind of request is very common and most programming languages have support for this. For example, here is another curl command uploading two files with meta data:

curl -XPOST -F meta='{"multiple":false, "direction": "outgoing"}' \
            -F file=@letter-en-source.pdf \
            -F file=@letter-de-source.pdf \