Chicago Citation Generator: Easy Citation for Everyone

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Chicago Citation Guide: Citing Sources in the Chicago Format

Citing sources in the Chicago format may seem a bit daunting at first, but you can get the hang of it in no time. You’ll find all the necessary information in this detailed Chicago citation guide.

But first, what is the Chicago Manual of Style? It’s a set of rules that help writers, publishers, editors, and professional scholars cite all the sources they used in research. It has been in use since 1906 and has 17 editions to date.

If you’re writing a college essay, historical journal, scientific paper, or business content, you need to give credit to all the authors whose work you used to support your research. Doing so makes you ethical, not to mention that it helps you avoid plagiarism. It also makes you more credible as you provide evidence to support your claims.

Ensuring the accuracy of every Chicago Manual of Style citation for your historical, scientific, or art publication can be quite time-consuming, especially when you have a long list of sources.

That’s where our Chicago Citation Generator comes in. It can generate a proper citation in seconds, saving you precious time to focus on your work.

But before you use it, let’s see all the characteristics of the Chicago citation format, along with some rules and examples.

Two Citation Patterns in the Chicago Formatting Style

When referencing work in the Chicago format, you can choose from two different citation patterns, including:

  • Notes and bibliography
  • Author-date

The notes and bibliography citation pattern uses bibliographies and footnotes or endnotes with all the details of the cited resource.

The author-date pattern uses in-text citations (typically parenthetical) with the author’s last name and publication year and reference lists at the end of the paper with complete bibliographic information.

The pattern you’ll use depends on the type of your publication.

If you’re writing a historical, art, or literary paper, you need to use the notes and bibliography system. If your work is related to sciences or social sciences (including history), the author-date system is your go-to option.

But what if both systems can accommodate your paper? How do you choose the right one?

If you’re a student, ask your professor which pattern they prefer. If you have a publisher, they may also have a pattern preference. Otherwise, find out what other people or businesses in your field use to cite sources.

Specific Requirements for Both Patterns of the Chicago Citation Format

Right now, it’s undoubtedly a bit clearer how to cite Chicago style when using the author-date pattern, but there are several more specific requirements to keep in mind. The other pattern also comes with particular rules you need to follow to format your citations properly.

Here are the requirements for each.

Notes and Bibliography

As mentioned earlier, you need to create either footnotes or endnotes when using this pattern. They’re the same, except they occupy a different space in your paper.

You place footnotes at the bottom of pages where the cited information appears, while you put endnotes at the end of your paper.

Whichever you use, you need to number them in your text right after the corresponding citation. You do that with a superscript, a number slightly above your line of type, which looks like this.¹

You can put it at the end of a sentence paraphrasing something from the original source or after the closing quotation mark when quoting the author.

To format your notes correctly, you need to consider the type of your resource.

For instance, if you’re citing a book, your note must contain the following information:

  • The author’s name
  • Publication title
  • City of publication
  • The publisher’s name
  • Year of publication
  • Page number

The correct style is this:

First Name Last Name, Title: Subtitle (Publication City: Publisher, Publication Year), Page Range.


Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (London: Headline Publishing Group, 2013), 76-77.

This pattern of the Chicago citation format also requires writing a bibliography at the end of your paper. It should include a list of all your sources in a slightly different format and style:

Last Name, First Name. Title. Publication City: Publisher, Publication Year.

If you look at the example above, you should format it this way:

Gaiman, Neil. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. London: Headline Publishing Group, 2013.

With journal articles, you need to include the volume and issue numbers as well.

Here’s an example when there are multiple authors: 

DeMink-Carthew, Jessica, Steven Netcoh, and Katy Farber. “Exploring the Potential for Students to Develop Self-Awareness Through Personalized Learning.” The Journal of Educational Research 113, no. 3 (2020): 165-176.


The author-date pattern might be a bit easier to use, as its in-text citations consist only of the author’s last name and publication year in parentheses. It can contain a page number, too, if relevant.

The proper format looks like this, regardless of the source type:

(Last Name Publication Year)

or (Last Name Publication Year, Page Number or Page Range)


(Lee 1960)

(Orwell 1945, 34)

(Smith 1776, 25-30)

Just like the previous Chicago citation pattern has its bibliographies, this one has references.

Your every in-text citation should have an entry in a reference list at the end of your paper that contains all the source details.

When citing a book, format the reference list entry like this:

Last Name, First Name. Publication Year. Title: Subtitle. Publication City: Publisher.


Smith, Adam. 1776. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell.

Referencing a journal article is similar to including it in a bibliography. It goes like this:

Bordelon, Bobray. 2021. Special Issue on Business and Financial Data: Introduction. Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship 25 (3-4): 103-104.

How Chicago Reference Generator Can Help You

Citing a book seems straightforward, doesn’t it? But how can you ever remember all the details for referencing journal articles, or even websites, when you need to include URLs, too?

You don’t need to. You can use a Chicago citation maker, which can do all the work for you. There are lots of them to choose from, such as Chicago Citation Machine and Cite This for Me Chicago. You can also utilize our Chicago Citation Generator for free and get proper citations in seconds.

All you need to do is paste a source title, ISBN, article title, or URL into the search box, and the citation maker will generate the right formatting. It also lets you enter all the source details manually and download the citations in a .doc format.

It can generate any Chicago Manual Style citation for the following sources:

  • Books
  • Book sections or chapters
  • Journals
  • Articles
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites
  • E-books
  • Encyclopedia entries
  • PDF documents
  • Videos
  • Images

Our citation converter is perfect for students, as it saves plenty of time that they could focus on ensuring their essay, dissertation, or any other academic paper reads smoothly.

Creating Reference Lists in the Chicago Format: Rules and Examples

The rules for creating both bibliographies and reference lists in the Chicago format are the same.

Create a list on a new page at the end of your paper, with a centered title (either “Bibliography” or “Reference List”). Hit the spacebar twice and start typing the entries.

Keep each entry’s first line flush-left while indenting every subsequent line.

Alphabetize the entries according to the authors’ last names. If you cite more than one source by the same author, arrange them chronologically. If there are one-author and multi-author sources by the same author, prioritize the former source.

Here’s an example list of journal articles:

Martin, Christie Lynn, and Polly Drew. 2019. Examining the Use of Multiple Writing and Discourse Tasks in 5th-grade mathematics. The Journal of Educational Research 112 (6): 663-675.

Lindsey, Geoff. 2011. Educational Psychology and the Effectiveness of Inclusive Education/Mainstreaming. British Journal of Educational Psychology 77 (1): 1-24.

Kim, Yongnam. 2019. Partial Identification of Answer Reviewing Effects in Multiple-Choice Exams. Journal of Educational Measurement 57 (4): 511-526.


We hope this guide has helped you understand how to cite Chicago-style to give credit to original authors, build credibility, and avoid plagiarism.

Still find it too overwhelming and time-consuming to do on your own? Try our free Chicago Citation Generator today and get the right citations in an instant!


Does Chicago Citation Generator provide both citing patterns?

The generator provides notes and bibliographies, but you can edit them easily to match the author-date pattern. You can download them in a .doc format with all the indents and spacing.

How is it different from the Turabian style?

The Chicago style uses parentheses for journal articles’ issue numbers, while the Turabian style uses “no.” to specify the issue number.

For instance, (5) would be correct in the Chicago format, while no. 5 would be proper for its Turabian counterpart.

Can it check my bibliography for accuracy?

The converter itself can’t, but we can! Just contact our customer support team, and one of our experts will get back to you shortly.

Why do I need to use different citing patterns in the Chicago style?

For generations, people have used specific citing patterns for different areas of study, such as historical research. By using the right patterns for the right papers, you’ll respect the tradition, ensure consistency, and appeal to the right audience.

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