How to Format Your Chicago Paper in 5 Minutes

How to Format Chicago Style Citation
Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Content Writer At Gradehacker

As a college student, it’s critical that you know how to write flawless academic papers. But one aspect that some writers underestimate is the citation style. And while most colleges ask for APA or MLA format style, there are many more.

One of them is the Chicago style citation format, which is currently in its 17th edition and incorporates significant changes that make it different from the other source citation formats.

You’ll have to do more than just include in-text citations and write your reference list in a specific way. It has two different varieties, but the most significant additions are the Chicago-style footnotes, besides the in-text citations.

Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional adult student’s most trusted resource. We have helped many students like you write perfectly formatted papers in Chicago, and we want to make sure you don’t make any mistakes when citing any type of source.

That’s why we’ve created this quick guide on how you can format your paper in Chicago style 17th edition in just five minutes.

Format your paper in Chicago Style

What is Chicago Style Citation?

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) establishes your credibility among your fellow researches. It describes rules for writers of English, History, and Art.

There are two different documentation styles in CMOS:

Author-Date Style

The Chicago Author-Date system is often used in the sciences and social sciences fields. It works similarly to APA or MLA citation styles, as the source material is briefly cited in quotation marks and parenthesis, including the author’s last name and year of publication.

This in-text citation has to match the bibliography entries in the reference list added at the end of the paper, where complete publication information is provided.

Here you can find a Chicago author-date style sample paper.

Notes-Bibliography Style (NB)

The Chicago Notes and Bibliography system is often used in the humanities fields (including literature, history, and arts.) This style format requires writers to use footnotes or endnotes to demonstrate accountability to the source material better and avoid accusations of plagiarism,which is the intentional or accidental uncredited use of source material created by others.

While footnotes go at the end of the page where the in-text citation is placed, endnotes are located at the end of the document. However, both must have a superscript number corresponding to a note in the text and a bibliographic entry placed where it corresponds.

And just like in other citation formats, it has a reference list at the end with full publication details.

Here you can find a Chicago Notes-Bibliography style sample paper.

How to Format Chicago Style

General Chicago Style Citation Guidelines

Regardless of which Chicago documentation style you have to use, the general guidelines you must keep in mind are:

Title Page

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, documents should include a title page or have the title on the first page of the text.

How to Format Chicago Style
Chicago Style Title Page Sample

In-Text Citations For Author-Date System

To quote any source title within your text in the Chicago Author-Date style, you will need the following:

Last name of the author + Year + Page number

Direct Quote Example:

It is said that "essay writing services are no longer a luxury. They are a necessity" (Smith 2022, 25).

Number of Authors

If your source material has two or three authors, you’ll have to write the last name of its authors in alphabetical order.

“Essay writing should not be a difficult experience” (Doe and Smith 2022, 25)

“Essay writing should not be a difficult experience” (Doe, Roberts, and Smith 2022, 25)

Now, if your source material has four or more authors, you’ll have to list only the first and follow it by et al. (which means “and others.”)

“Essay writing should not be a difficult experience” (Smith et al. 2022, 25)

In-Text Citations For Notes-Bibliography System

As we explained above, to use indirect or exact quotes with the Notes-Bibliography style, you have to add a superscript number (beginning with 1) that will correspond to a footnote at the bottom of that page and a bibliography entry in the reference list.

Notes must be quoted like this:

Full name of the author, Title of publication (Publication city: Publisher, Year of publication), Page.

John Smith, The Ethics of Essay Writing Services (Miami: Gradehacker, 2022), 25.

If you use an online source, like a digital journal article, an e-book, or a website, include the DOI or URL at the end of the note.

John Smith, The Ethics of Essay Writing Services (Miami: Gradehacker, 2022), 25, httpl://

Number of Authors

Just like the Chicago Author-Date system, to quote source materials with two or three authors, you must list the last name of its authors in alphabetical order.

John Doe and John Smith, The Ethics of Essay Writing Services (Miami: Gradehacker, 2022), 25.

John Doe, Mark Roberts, and John Smith, The Ethics of Essay Writing Services (Miami: Gradehacker, 2022), 25.

And if you have four or more contributors, write the last name of the first author and add et al.

John Smith et al., The Ethics of Essay Writing Services (Miami: Gradehacker, 2022), 25.

How to Format Chicago Style

Reference List

To give full credit to your source material, you have to list all your sources in a Bibliography at the end of your work, so readers can easily find your references.

These are general guidelines that apply to both Chicago styles:

Number of Authors

Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Smith, John. The Ethics of Essay Writing Services. Miami: Gradehacker. 2022.

Doe, John and John Smith. The Ethics of Essay Writing Services. Miami: Gradehacker. 2022.

Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Title, Issue information

Smith, John. "Why The Student Loan Debt Has Grown So Fast." Gradehacker Journal 12, no 1 (2022): 20-25.

How to Format Chicago Style

Write in Chicago Style Citation Without Any Mistakes!

Now you are ready to write your paper in the Chicago style citation format. 

Save this blog post, and keep it at hand so you can refer back to it whenever you have doubts about how to format your paper using Chicago style.

To facilitate the process, remember you can use one of the many Chicago-style citation makers available online. We recommend Citation Machine or MyBib, and here you can find the Best Citation Machines for College Students.

They are super easy to use and can help you save valuable time. Still, you should always check that its source citations are correct, as sometimes AI can fail.

And if you continue struggling with essay writing in Chicago style and want further help, you can trust Gradehacker to have your back. We’ll help you ace that essay without any formatting errors!

Do you want more helpful college tips on how to improve your writing? Check out these related blog posts:

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea is a curious and creative journalist who first helped many college students as a Gradehacker consultant in subjects like literature, communications, ethics, and business. Now, as a Content Creator in our blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok, he assists non-traditional students improve their college experience by sharing the best tips. You can find him on LinkedIn.