Note: Adobe recommends that you use the BinaryDecode function to convert Base64 encoded data to binary data in all new applications.


Calculates the binary representation of Base64-encoded data, PDF document, or a spreadsheet.


A binary representation of the data.


Conversion functionsString functions

Function syntax


See also

  • BinaryDecode for conversion of binary-encoded data, including Base64, to binary data
  • cffile for information about loading and reading binary data
  • cfwddx for information about serializing and deserializing binary data
  • IsBinary and ToBase64 for checking format and converting to Base64
  • Len for determining the length of a binary object
  • Binary data type and binary encoding in Data types- Developing guide in the Developing ColdFusion Applications





A variable representing data in Base64-encoded format or a PDF document.


The ToBinary function can take as a parameter a PDF document variable (specified by the cfpdf tag name attribute). In this case, the ToBinary function returns a byte array (byte[]) representation of the document. You can use the results of this function, for example, to store the PDF in a database as a BLOB, or, in a cfcontent tag, to write the PDF to the browser. You can use this binary representation with a read operation in the cfpdf tag to create a variable.The following example reads an unprotected PDF file, applies protections, and displays it in the browser:

<cfpdf action="read" source="Copy of coldfusion11.pdf" name="p"> 
<cfpdf action="protect" source="p" newUserpassword="user" permissions="none" 
<cfcontent type="application/pdf" variable="#tobinary(p)#">

Adobe recommends that you use the BinaryDecode function to convert Base64 encoded data to binary data in all new applications.If you pass a binary value to this function, it returns the input value.


    strValue = "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
    strBase64Value = ToBase64(strValue)
    strNewValue = ToString(ToBinary(strBase64Value))
    writeOutput("Base 64 is: " & strBase64Value & "<br/>") // U2d0LiBQZXBwZXIncyBMb25lbHkgSGVhcnRzIENsdWIgQmFuZA==
    writeOutput("Binary value is: " & strNewValue) // Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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