Tips on Using Chicago Manual Style of Citation

Understanding basic of Chicago manual of style

There are two main cite styles in the Chicago manual of style namely Author-date and notes and bibliography.

The author-date system is commonly used when dealing with sciences and social sciences. This system incorporates in-text citations where the last name of the author and the year of publication is included all enclosed in parenthesis. Apart from that, we also have a reference list where all the in-text citations are transferred to. This list provides all the bibliographic information.

The Notes and bibliography system is often applied when dealing with subjects under humanities such as arts, history, and literature. In this case, citations of sources are done in the form of footnotes or endnotes that are duly numbered. Every note matches a superscript in the text. Apart from the footnotes or endnotes, the sources will also be transferred to the bibliography section. The advantage of this system is that it can accommodate various sources even ones that may not be seen fit in the case of author-date system.

Tips and hints on how to cite in Chicago style

The following are the general guidelines should be followed when using the Chicago Manual of style format:

  • All the text in the work should be double-spaced. This includes the block quotations, entries in the bibliography and notes.
  • When dealing with block quotations, the following should be followed:
  • Any extract more than 100 words or containing more than five lines should be considered as a block quotation.
  • In poetry, Chicago manual style of citations calls for blocking when quoting more than two lines.
  • No quotation marks should be used when dealing with block quotations.
  • The block quotation should always begin in a separate new line.
  • The block quotation should always be indented away from the left margin using the indention tool found in word processor.
  • The numbering of the pages should start with the first page’s header and should be done in Arabic numerals.
  • Subheadings should be included when handling long papers – in this case, you can come up with your format, but you should make sure that it is consistent.

Other guidelines include:

  • Having margins of at least “1”.
  • Typing using a readable font such as Times New Roman.
  • Visible font size should be at least more than 10pt but most preferable 12pt.

How to design Chicago Style Title Page

The Chicago style requires every paper to have a title. This can be done on a separate text cover page or made part of the first page of the text.

The following guidelines should be followed in case you are required to have a text cover page:

  • The title should be placed at the quarter mark from the top of the page. It should be centered
  • Your name should be placed at the halfway mark of the page. You should also include class information and the date
  • When dealing with subtitles, the title line should end with a colon, and the subtitle should follow on another line
  • Each line on the title page should be double-spaced.


The Chicago Manual style of citation has no fixed method on how to present heading and subheadings, but some recommendations that have been made include:

  • Maintaining a level of consistency is important.
  • Headline style should be adopted to make capitalization easy.
  • Subheading should always begin on a separate line.
  • Font size should be used to separate the main heading, and the subheadings.
  • Consistency and clarity should be maintained at each hierarchical level.
  • You devise a way of differentiating the levels of subheads. This can be done by bolding or italicizing, as well as the placement.
  • Limit the level of the hierarchy to at least three levels.
  • Subheadings should not end with periods.

How to put Chicago style in-text citation in an essay

In-text citations in Chicago Style are usually in the form of footnotes or endnotes. When citing from any source, you should include a superscript number immediately after the quote or the paraphrase. The numbering should be done in a sequence. All the superscript numbers should match the citation located in the footnote or the endnote. The endnotes are usually done on an endnote page. This page should have the title ‘Notes” centered. This page should be followed by the bibliography page. In the case of footnotes, they are always located at below the page that they have been referred.


Johnson stated that “They are very many unemployed people in developing countries” (41-43).1

This means that a superscript represents each numbered citation found in the footnotes or endnotes.


When you are referring to a citation in-text for the first time, then you have to include the entire information that is, the author’s full name, the title, and the place of publication, the name of the publisher, the year of publication and the page numbers.


Lowell, Frederick. “Why I Tried: The Mentality Behind a Crime.” In The Criminal Mind, edited by Frank

Alden, 101–2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006

In case you are repeating what has already been cited, then you can reduce the amount of information by only including the author’s last name, a short title, and the page numbers.


Frederick, Why I Tried, 101-2

When referring to a citation that has just been mentioned prior, then the note may further be reduced to ibid


ibid., 101-2

A good example of Chicago Style Template

A Chicago style essay should follow the following template.

Title of Your Paper

Your Name


Professor’s Name


(Be sure to add a page break to separate your title page away from the rest of the text)


This is where you begin your main text. Note that at the right top of your page you have your last name and the page number. The title page should not have a page number. You can split your work in different sections, using subheadings. The trick here is to ensure that your work is consistent. Use raised Arabic numerals when citing your work in the footnotes. Your thesis statement should be at the introduction of your work.

You can find further details on how to use this style in the handbook provided.

Word processor will automatically insert your footnotes for you. You can use the references Tab then place the cursor where you want to add the foot and click on insert footnote. Chicago is the most preferred writing style because it makes the text look cleaner, and makes it possible for the reader to easily access the sources hence promoting interactive text reading.

Depending on your instructor, you can also add the work cited page. However, it is not necessary because all the information with regards to the sources have already been captured in the footnotes.

Works Cited

This is a separate page where you should list all the sources you gathered while researching on your essay. The title of this page can be “Work Cited”, “Bibliography” or “References”. In any case, they should be centered at the top of the page.

When putting the entries, you should ensure that you leave two lines before inserting the first entry. The subsequent entries should be one line apart.

As mentioned earlier, this page is optional when you are working with the Chicago style. This is only applicable when the instructor has made it a requirement.

A Good Chicago Manual of Style Example

An example of how to cite a book in Chicago style:

The footnotes will look like the following:

Zadie Smith, Swing Time (New York: Penguin Press, 2016), 315–16.

Nadler, Steven. A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.

We can have the following as the shortened notes:

Smith, Swing Time, 320.

Stephen, A Book Forged in Hell, 2011

Entries in the bibliography, the alphabetical order should be ascending.

Nadler, Steven. A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the

Secular Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2016.