Chicago Manual of Style Format and Citations

Oct 25, 2022


The Chicago citation style defines the requirements for the preparation and publication of various academic and publishing works. All the formatting requirements applicable to this style are outlined in the Chicago guide, which is often referred to as the “publisher’s bible.” It was first released in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. In September 2010 the most up-to-date edition was published (16th edition). This is a very comprehensive guide, regularly updated based on new case studies and editorial practice. It covers everything from English grammar to document formatting.

Chicago style is a workhorse of citation styles often used in social sciences, humanities, and historical and academic journals. The Publishing Rules of the Organization of American Historians and the Formatting Manual of the American Humanitarian Sciences Association are exclusively based on the Chicago Style Guide. Many large and small publishers and publishing houses around the world have adopted this style as their publishing standard.


The Chicago style offers more freedom than other popular citation styles. It also gives a choice of various formats. Even some mixing of fonts and styles is allowed, as long as the end product is clear and consistent. The Manual outlines two citation formats:

  • Notes/bibliography, also known as liberal arts style. References to sources are given in footnotes (or end notes) and/or in the bibliography.
  • Author/date, also known as scientific style and social science style. The author and the date of the source are indicated in parentheses in the text and in the list of sources used.

It is worth noting that Chicago Style Guide places more emphasis on the footnote/bibliography format. It is recommended that the source be indicated in both the footnotes throughout the text and the bibliography list at the end; however, this is not an absolute requirement. Although this practice is still common in liberal arts schools, it is best to consult with the teacher on this topic. If it is decided not to use the bibliographic list, the footnotes must contain complete information about the source of the citation. 

At the time of the first mention of the work in a footnote, the author must provide details about the publication. All subsequent notes on this work may be abbreviated. On the other hand, if the bibliographic list provides all the sources cited in the footnotes, the full publication details may not be indicated in the footnotes, since the reader can look up this in the bibliographic list.

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  • Page margins should be set to a minimum width of 2.54 cm and a maximum of 3.81 cm.
  • The text’s font should be easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Areal.
  • The font size according to Chicago style must not be less than 10-size (preferably 12th and above).
  • Line spacing must be double except in the following cases:
    • Single line spacing in block quotes (indented long quotes), table titles, and figure titles.
    • A prose quote of five or more lines is formatted as a blockquote.
    • A block quote is not enclosed in quotes.
    • The additional entry must precede the citation and also follow it.
  • There is no particular requirement for the space between lines of notes and bibliography; however, one should at least maintain a single blank line between bibliographic entries or footnotes.
  • Page numbers begin in the footer of the first page with the Arabic number 1.
  • Subheadings are used for longer documents. You can create your own subheading format, but it must be followed throughout the document. 
  • Subtitles must be preceded and followed by a blank line. A period is not required after the subheadings.


  • In the page footnotes, there must be the first name and the last name of the author, but the first name should always come first (for example, Correy Mads).
  • In the bibliographic list, on the contrary, the surname is always given first, then the first name (for example, Mads Correy).
  • Publishing agency/house names may come abbreviated, where technical abbreviations can be dropped altogether, e.g. Inc., Ltd., Co., etc.
  • If more than one place of publication needs to be mentioned in a paper, only the first place is given. 
  • If the publication place is not known or may be confused with another place of the same name (for example, Oxford), then the name of the province or state is given using abbreviation and without periods (e.g. Cambridge, MA).

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