OAS 3 This page applies to OpenAPI 3 – the latest version of the OpenAPI Specification. If you use OpenAPI 2 (fka Swagger), visit OpenAPI 2 pages.

Media Types

Media type is a format of a request or response body data. Web service operations can accept and return data in different formats, the most common being JSON, XML and images. You specify the media type in request and response definitions. Here is an example of a response definition:
paths:
  /employees:
    get:
      summary: Returns a list of employees.
      responses:
        '200':      # Response
          description: OK
          content:  # Response body
            application/json:  # Media type
              schema:          # Must-have
                type: object   # Data type
                properties: 
                  id:
                    type: integer
                  name:
                    type: string
                  fullTime: 
                    type: boolean
                example:       # Sample data
                    id: 1
                    name: Jessica Right
                    fullTime: true
Below responses we have definitions of individual responses. As you can see, each response is defined by its code ('200' in our example.). The keyword content below the code corresponds to the response body. One or multiple media types go as child keywords of this content keyword. Each media type includes a schema, defining the data type of the message body, and, optionally, one or several examples. For more information on defining body data, see Defining Request Body and Defining Responses.

Media Type Names

The media types listed below the content field should be compliant with RFC 6838. For example, you can use standard types or vendor-specific types (indicated by .vnd) –
application/json
application/xml
application/x-www-form-urlencoded
multipart/form-data
text/plain; charset=utf-8
text/html
application/pdf
image/png
application/vnd.mycompany.myapp.v2+json
application/vnd.ms-excel
application/vnd.openstreetmap.data+xml
application/vnd.github-issue.text+json
application/vnd.github.v3.diff
image/vnd.djvu

Multiple Media Types

You may want to specify multiple media types:
paths:
  /employees:
    get:
      summary: Returns a list of employees.
      responses:
        '200':      # Response
          description: OK
          content:  # Response body
            application/json:   # One of media types
              schema:
                type: object
                properties:
                  id:
                    type: integer
                  name:
                    type: string
                  fullTime: 
                    type: boolean
            application/xml:    # Another media types
              schema:
                type: object
                properties:
                  id:
                    type: integer
                  name:
                    type: string
                  fullTime: 
                    type: boolean
To use the same data format for several media types, define a custom object in the components section of your spec and then refer to this object in each media type:
paths:
  /employees:
    get:
      responses:
        '200':      # Response
          description: OK
          content:  # Response body
            application/json:  # Media type
             schema: 
               $ref: '#/components/schemas/Employee'    # Reference to object definition
            application/xml:   # Media type
             schema: 
               $ref: '#/components/schemas/Employee'    # Reference to object definition
components:
  schemas:
    Employee:      # Object definition
      type: object
      properties:
        id:
          type: integer
        name:
          type: string
        fullTime: 
          type: boolean
To define the same format for multiple media types, you can also use placeholders like */*, application/*, image/* or others:
paths:
  /info/logo:
    get:
      responses:
        '200':           # Response
          description: OK
          content:       # Response body
            image/*:     # Media type
             schema: 
               type: string
               format: binary
The value you use as media type – image/* in our example – is very similar to what you can see in the Accept or Content-Type headers of HTTP requests and responses. Do not confuse the placeholder and the actual value of the Accept or Content-Type headers. For example, the image/* placeholder for a response body means that the server will use the same data structure for all the responses that match the placeholder. It does not mean that the string image/* will be specified in the Content-Type header. The Content-Type header most likely will have image/png, image/jpeg, or some other similar value.