JavaFX FileChooser

Jakob Jenkov
Last update: 2019-01-24

A JavaFX FileChooser class (javafx.stage.FileChooser) is a dialog that enables the user to select one or more files via a file explorer from the user's local computer. The JavaFX FileChooser is implemented in the class javafx.stage.FileChooser. In this JavaFX FileChooser tutorial I will show you how to use the JavaFX FileChooser dialog.

Here is an example screenshot of how a JavaFX FileChooser looks:

A JavaFX FileChooser screenshot

Creating a FileChooser

In order to use the JavaFX FileChooser dialog you must first create a FileChooser instance. Here is an example of creating a JavaFX FileChooser dialog:

FileChooser fileChooser = new FileChooser();

As you can see, it is pretty easy to create a FileChooser instance.

Showing the FileChooser Dialog

Showing the JavaFX FileChooser dialog is done by calling its showOpenDialog() method. Here is an example of showing a FileChooser dialog:

File selectedFile = fileChooser.showOpenDialog(stage);

The File returned by the showOpenDialog() method is the file the user selected in the FileChooser.

The stage parameter is the JavaFX Stage that should "own" the FileChooser dialog. By "owning" is meant what Stage from which the FileChooser dialog is shown. This will typically be the Stage in which the button sits that initiates the showing of the FileChooser.

Showing a FileChooser is typically done as a result of a click on a button or menu item. Here is a full JavaFX example that shows a button that opens a FileChooser when it is clicked:

import javafx.application.Application;
import javafx.scene.Scene;
import javafx.scene.control.Button;
import javafx.scene.layout.VBox;
import javafx.stage.FileChooser;
import javafx.stage.Stage;

public class FileChooserExample extends Application {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

    public void start(Stage primaryStage) {
        primaryStage.setTitle("JavaFX App");

        FileChooser fileChooser = new FileChooser();

        Button button = new Button("Select File");
        button.setOnAction(e -> {
            File selectedFile = fileChooser.showOpenDialog(primaryStage);

        VBox vBox = new VBox(button);
        Scene scene = new Scene(vBox, 960, 600);


This example creates a full JavaFX application with a Button that when clicked opens a FileChooser . Notice how the primary Stage for the JavaFX application is passed as parameter to the FileChooser showOpenDialog() method.

Setting Initial Directory

You can set the initial directory displayed in the JavaFX FileChooser via its setInitialDirectory() method. Here is an example of setting the initial directory of a FileChooser dialog:

fileChooser.setInitialDirectory(new File("data"));

This example sets the initial directory displayed by the FileChooser to data.

Setting Initial File Name

You can set the initial file name to display in the FileChooser . Some platforms (e.g. Windows) may ignore this setting, though. Here is an example of setting the initial file name of a FileChooser:


This example sets the initial file name to myfile.txt .

Adding File Name Filters

It is possible to add file name filters to a JavaFX FileChooser. File name filters are used to filter out what files are shown in the FileChooser when the user browses around the file system. Here is an example of adding file name filters:

FileChooser fileChooser = new FileChooser();

     new FileChooser.ExtensionFilter("Text Files", "*.txt")
    ,new FileChooser.ExtensionFilter("HTML Files", "*.htm")

This examples adds two file name filters to the FileChooser. The user can choose between these file name filters inside the FileChooser dialog.

Jakob Jenkov

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