Chicago Style Citation Format Complete Guidelines

What is the Chicago Style Format, and how can you format your paper in this style? This article will teach you how to write in Chicago-style citation format in Google Docs.

What is the Chicago Style Citation Format? The Chicago Style Citation Format (CSCF) is a three-part referencing system used in the academic world. Each of these parts has a different letter in the format: the author's last name, first initials, the title of the work in italics, and publication information, such as the journal name, volume number, issue number, and publication date.

Chicago-style citation formatting has two document citation formats: the author-date style and the notes and bibliography style. 

Citations are made using numbered endnotes or footnotes in the Notes and Bibliography style. In the text, notes are identified by a higher number (superscript). Bibliographies are frequently cited separately.

The author-date style is most commonly used in the sciences and social sciences. In this system, the author's last name and year of publication are used to briefly acknowledge sources in the text, typically in parentheses. Each in-text citation corresponds to a reference list entry containing complete bibliographic details.

According to the last Chicago style citation style format, below are steps to follow as a Chicago-style format guideline

  • Begin your Chicago-style citations on a new line. Notes should have a separate line after each item listed.  
  • Always capitalize only proper names or titles; avoid using all capitals as suggested above. 
  • Use two spaces after a period. 
  • Endnotes should not begin on a complete sentence but on a separate line and set as flush with the margin on both sides. The note should include the page on which they found the source, followed by the reference in shortened form (if over seven lines long), the date, the book title, the volume number if applicable, and then the note itself. 
  • Place quotation marks around titles of books, magazines, and other periodicals when first mentioned. 
  • Do not place quotation marks around phrases used as titles (e.g., "A Perfect Christmas" by Perry Como). 

For example, see Barkley, M. K., 1954, Popular Remarks. Big, Black & Co., Boston. P. 205

Chicago Style Citation format in Google Docs

One of Google Docs' many capabilities is the capacity to input citations in several styles, including the Chicago-style citation format style.

When using Google Docs, there are several citation formats you can use. The Chicago-style citation guidelines are used for papers and essays in the humanities and by many businesses and organizations.

Using the popular Chicago Style citation format in Google Docs is workable. You must automatically install the EasyBib add-on to create citations using the Chicago formatting style. After installing the add-on, you can make citations by choosing the pertinent data and clicking the "Create Citation" button.

To format a document manually in Google Docs, follow the Chicago-style citation format guidelines below: 

  • Open a document in Google docs.
  • Select Tools from the menu bar and choose "Citations" from the drop-down of the tools tab. 
  • Select the "Chicago Author-date (17th edition)" format in the "Citations."
  • Select any of the source types you want from the drop-down list. The source type includes Books, Book sections, Websites, Journal articles, Newspaper articles, and many more.
  • If you choose journal articles, after that, select one of the following from "Print," "Website," and "Online database," where you can access the document. 
  • Input the following citation information: "Author Name,” “Journal title,” “Published Data,” “Published Month,” “Published Year,” etc. After using the “Save source” button to continue.
  • Input the “Chicago” style citation, then click the “Insert References” button.
  • Finally, you can verify if the Chicago-style format has been cited using sample information. 

Remember that the Chicago Style citation format offers two distinct citation formats: author-date, notes, and bibliography. While most people use both styles, you may encounter instances where your professor or publisher requires you to use one format.

How to do Chicago-style citation format with the author-date style and note and bibliography styles:

For author-date citations, you must include the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number (if applicable). For example: (Paul 2020, 12).

For notes and bibliography citations, you will need to include the author's last name, the year of publication, the title of the work, and the page number (if applicable). For example: see Paul's 2020 "Chicago Style Citation Format," 12.

Chicago Style Citation Header and Title 

The header and title of Chicago-style cited papers obey the following Chicago-style citation guidelines:

  • The header appears on the left side of the page, the author's name and date appear on the right side, and the title appears in the center of the page.
  • The header and title should be double-spaced.
  • The header and title should be in the same font and size.

Use the following Chicago style citation formatting rules for the author-date style:

  • The citation header for the author-date style includes the author's last name, the publication date, and the page number (s) referenced. 
  • The title of the work being cited should be in sentence case (you should capitalize only the first word and proper nouns).

Use the following Chicago-style citation writing format for the notes and bibliography:

  • The citation header for the notes and bibliography style includes the author's last name, the cited work's title, and the page number (s) referenced. 
  • The title of the work being cited should be in the title case (you should capitalize all significant words).

Examples of how to write a Chicago-style citation paper header and title are:

Header: Last name, first name. "Article Title." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, date, pp. #-#.

Title: Last name, first name. "Article Title." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. # (date), pp. #-#.

Works Cited page

When creating a work-cited page, the basic Chicago-style citation format requirements are: 

  • The page is titled "Works Cited" and is at the end of your paper. 
  • All entries should be double-spaced and include a hanging indent (i.e., the first line of each entry should be flush with the left margin, and you should indent subsequent lines by 1/2 inch). 
  • Each entry should include the information for the type of source you are citing (e.g., author's last name, publication date, etc.).

Here are a few additional tips for a Chicago-style citation format paper:

- When citing a website, encompass the URL at the end of the entry (after the publication date).

- For newspaper articles, add the page range where you can find the article.

If you are citing a book, include the city of publication and the publisher's name.

Chicago-style Citation Style Citations

Historians use the Chicago style citation format. This citation style is known as the Turabian, named after Kate L. Turabian, who developed it for the University of Chicago Press.

A Chicago-style citation format example will have the following principal features:

1. Footnotes or endnotes to cite sources, with a corresponding bibliography at the end of the paper.

2. An author-date subordinate system within the text, with corresponding references at the end.

3. The use of in-text or parenthetical citations, depending on the author's preference.

4. The use of the author-date system or the notes and bibliography system, depending on the author's preference.

The Chicago-style citation format paper is flexible and can be adapted to suit the needs of any author. 

Chicago Style Citation Headings and Subheadings 

Headings and subheadings help organize your paper and can be searched for specific information. When using headings and subheadings, use them consistently throughout the article.

Below is how to do a Chicago-style citation format if you are using headings and subheadings: 

• Center the chapter heads, and section heads should be flush left.

• Chapter heads should be in italics, while section areas should be in boldface.

• Always indent subheadings under the relevant section head.

• Section and chapter heads should be numbered, and use consistent spacing and font size throughout the paper.

There are two headings in Chicago style citation format style you can use, namely: section headers and chapter headers. Section headers help to organize your paper into sections, and chapter headers help to organize your paper into chapters. They usually use section headers for more extended essays and chapter headers for shorter ones. 

Follow the Chicago style citation guidelines below to combine section and chapter headers in your paper. 

  • To use section headers, ensure you use two levels of headings: level 1 headers for the main sections of your paper and level 2 headers for the subsections of your essay. 
  • To use chapter headers, you will need to use three headings: level 1 headers for the main chapters of your paper, level 2 headers for the subchapters of your essay, and level 3 headers for the sections of your paper.


Both types of headings are essential for helping the reader navigate the paper and providing structure. 

Tables and figures

Tables and figures are essential parts of any document, and the Chicago style citation format has specific requirements for their format and placement. It is vital to structure the tables in your paper in a concise, easy-to-read format and place them close to the text they reference.

Figures can visualize data or present information in a more easily digestible format and are labeled. You should consecutively number both tables and figures throughout the document and refer to them by number in the text.

Chicago Style format for Tables

The Chicago style citation formatting provides detailed instructions on formatting tables. Following these guidelines will ensure that your document is clear and easy to read.

  • Pick an easy-to-read font for your table. A font like Times Roman or Helvetica is usually a good choice.
  • Your table should contain a clear and concise title, placing the title above the table.
  • Your formatting should be clear and consistent in your table.
  • All column headers must contain the same font and size and be aligned with the data in each column.
  • Break your table into smaller sizes whenever there is a lot of data in your table. Your reader gets the information more accessible.

Chicago Style Format For Figures

In a Chicago Style citation format paper, figures are usually numbered sequentially throughout the paper. If a figure is used more than once, it is assigned a new number each time it appears, except for plates, which are usually lettered. All figures must be referred to in the text by their numbers.

Figures are divided into original data and those compiled from other sources. Original data includes graphs, charts, maps, photographs, and drawings. 

  • All other figures are compiled from different sources and must be labeled accordingly.
  • All figures must be cited in the text and have a corresponding entry in the reference list. 
  • For figures containing original data, the citation should include the source of the data. 
  • For compiled figures, the citation should include the figure's source and the data's source.

How to incorporate images into the text of your paper:

  • If you choose to use images in the text of your article, the first text reference comes before the image appears. 
  • All text references to images should include the image numbers (e.g., "As figure 1 illustrates..."). Unless it appears in parentheses (in which case "fig" may be used), the word "figure" should always be written in lowercase and entirely spelled out.
  • Below the image, the caption will begin with “Figure” or “Fig.” followed by a number and period. (E.g., Figure 1.) 
  • The caption will start with "Figure" or "Fig." followed by a number and a period beneath the picture. Example: Figure 1.
  • A caption may use one or more words, a few sentences, an unfinished or complete sentence, or a combination of these. 
  • Most titles in a caption will be capitalized and italicized, including those for pictures, drawings, photos, statues, and books.
  • Usually acceptable and occasionally required by the illustration's owner, a credit line explains the illustration's source.
  • Usually, at the end of a caption, often included in parentheses, is a credit line.
  • The credit line should include any page or figure numbers beside the author, title, publication information, and (sometimes) copyright date. Only a condensed version has to be included in the credit line if the work is in the bibliography or reference list.
  • You can copy illustrations from works in the public domain without permission. A good credit line, however, is for the readers' information.