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This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition), which was issued in 2017.
Since The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is primarily intended as a style guide for published works rather than class papers, these guidelines will be supplemented with information from, Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.), which is largely based on CMOS with some slight alterations.
To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of all CMOS citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in CMOS.
A Note on Citations
Unlike many citation styles, CMOS gives writers two different methods for documenting sources: the Author-Date System and the Notes-Bibliography (NB) System. As its name suggests, Author-Date uses parenthetical citations in the text to reference the source's author's last name and the year of publication. Each parenthetical citation corresponds to an entry on a References page that concludes the document. In these regards, Author-Date is very similar to, for instance, APA style.
By contrast, NB uses numbered footnotes in the text to direct the reader to a shortened citation at the bottom of the page. This corresponds to a fuller citation on a Bibliography page that concludes the document. Though the general principles of citation are the same here, the citations themselves are formatted differently from the way they appear in Author-Date.
If you are using CMOS for school or work, don't forget to ensure that you're using your organization's preferred citation method. For examples of these two different styles in action, see our CMOS sample papers:
Author-Date Sample Paper
NB Sample Paper
General CMOS Guidelines
- Text should be consistently double-spaced, except for block quotations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles, and figure captions.
- A prose quotation of five or more lines, or more than 100 words, should be blocked.
- CMOS recommends blocking two or more lines of poetry.
- A blocked quotation does not get enclosed in quotation marks.
- A blocked quotation must always begin a new line.
- Blocked quotations should be indented with the word processor’s indention tool.
- Page numbers begin in the header of the first page of text with Arabic number 1.
- For CMOS and Turabian’s recommendations, see “Headings,” below.
Supplemental Turabian Style Guidelines
- Margins should be set at no less than 1”.
- Typeface should be something readable, such as Times New Roman or Courier.
- Font size should be no less than 10 pt. (preferably, 12 pt.).
Major Paper Sections
- The title should be centered a third of the way down the page.
- Your name, class information, and the date should follow several lines later.
- For subtitles, end the title line with a colon and place the subtitle on the line below the title.
- Double-space each line of the title page.
CMOS Title Page
- Different practices apply for theses and dissertations (see Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, ad Dissertations [8 th ed.].
- Titles mentioned in the text, notes, or bibliography are capitalized “headline-style,” meaning first words of titles and subtitles and any important words thereafter should be capitalized.
- Book and periodical titles (titles of larger works) should be italicized.
- Article and chapter titles (titles of shorter works) should be enclosed in double quotation marks.
- The titles of most poems should be enclosed in double quotation marks, but the titles of very long poems should be italicized.
- Titles of plays should be italicized.
- For example, use lowercase terms to describe periods, except in the case of proper nouns (e.g., “the colonial period,” vs. “the Victorian era”).
- A prose quotation of five or more lines should be “blocked.” The block quotation should match the surrounding text, and it takes no quotation marks. To offset the block quote from surrounding text, indent the entire quotation using the word processor’s indentation tool. It is also possible to offset the block quotation by using a different or smaller font than the surrounding text.
- Label the first page of your back matter, your comprehensive list of sources, “Bibliography” (for Notes and Bibliography style) or “References” (for Author-Date style).
- Leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” or “References” and your first entry.
- Leave one blank line between remaining entries.
- List entries in letter-by-letter alphabetical order according to the first word in each entry, be that the author's name or the title of the piece..
- For two to three authors, write out all names.
- For four to ten authors, write out all names in the bibliography but only the first author’s name plus “et al.” in notes and parenthetical citations.
- When a source has no identifiable author, cite it by its title, both on the references page and in shortened form (up to four keywords from that title) in parenthetical citations throughout the text.
- Write out publishers’ names in full.
- Do not use access dates unless publication dates are unavailable.
- If you cannot ascertain the publication date of a printed work, use the abbreviation “n.d.”
- Provide DOIs instead of URLs whenever possible.
- If no DOI is available, provide a URL.
- If you cannot name a specific page number when called for, you have other options: section (sec.), equation (eq.), volume (vol.), or note (n.).
CMOS Bibliography Page
- Note numbers should begin with “1” and follow consecutively throughout a given paper.
- Note numbers are superscripted.
- Note numbers should be placed at the end of the clause or sentence to which they refer and should be placed after all punctuation, except for the dash.
- Note numbers are full-sized, not raised, and followed by a period (superscripting note numbers in the notes themselves is also acceptable).
- In parenthetical citation, separate documentation from brief commentary with a semicolon.
- Do not repeat the hundreds digit in a page range if it does not change from the beginning to the end of the range.
For more information on footnotes, please see CMOS NB Sample Paper .
While The Chicago Manual of Style does not include a prescribed system for formatting headings and subheads, it makes several recommendations.
- Maintain consistency and parallel structure in headings and subheads.
- Use headline-style for purposes of capitalization.
- Subheadings should begin on a new line.
- Subheadings can be distinguished by font-size.
- Ensure that each level of hierarchy is clear and consistent.
- Levels of subheads can be differentiated by type style, use of boldface or italics, and placement on the page, usually either centered or flush left.
- Use no more than three levels of hierarchy.
- Avoid ending subheadings with periods.
Turabian has an optional system of five heading levels.
Turabian Subheading Plan
Here is an example of the five-level heading system:
Tables and Figures
- Position tables and figures as soon as possible after they are first referenced. If necessary, present them after the paragraph in which they are described.
- For figures, include a caption, or short explanation of the figure or illustration, directly after the figure number.
- Cite a source as you would for parenthetical citation, and include full information in an entry on your Bibliography or References page.
- Acknowledge reproduced or adapted sources appropriately (i.e., photo by; data adapted from; map by...).
- If a table includes data not acquired by the author of the text, include an unnumbered footnote. Introduce the note by the word Source(s) followed by a colon, then include the full source information, and end the note with a period.
How to Cite the Purdue OWL in CMOS
On the new OWL site, contributors’ names and the last edited date are no longer listed at the top of every page. This means that most citations will now begin with the title of the resource, rather than the contributors' names.
Footnote or Endnote (N):
Corresponding Bibliographical Entry (B):
“Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name . http://Web address for OWL resource.
“General Format.” The Purdue OWL. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
Author Date In-text Citation:
("General Format" 2017).
Author Date References Page Citation:
Year of Publication. “Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name . http://Web address for OWL resource.
2017. “General Format.” The Purdue OWL . https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02.
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Chicago Style Citation Guide: Sample Papers
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Chicago Style Options
Chicago Manual of Style offers the option to use footnotes, endnotes or parenthetical in-text citations featuring an author / date format. Footnotes or endnotes allow for citation information to be easily accessible at the bottom of each page (footnotes) or at the end of the paper (endnotes). Notes also allow for supplemental explanatory text to be included in the paper at the place it is most relevant. The notes format is used primarily in the disciplines of the humanities (history, religion, philosophy, art, etc.). The author / date format is used primarily in the disciplines of the physical, natural and social sciences (biology, chemistry, sociology, etc.).
The author / date format is similar to MLA and APA citation styles. The following sample papers present all three formats.
Footnotes / Endnotes sample papers
Footnotes, which are located at the bottom of each page, acknowledge which parts of the paper reference particular sources. Footnotes should match with a superscript number at the end of the sentence referencing the source. Footnotes should begin with 1 and continue numerically throughout the paper. Do not start the order over on each page.
- Footnotes sample paper
- Endnotes sample paper
Author / Date sample paper
Author / date in-text citations are briefly cited in the text, usually in parentheses, by author’s last name and date of publication. The short citations are amplified in a list of references, where full bibliographic information is provided.
- CMOS Author-Date Sample Paper
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Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) /Turabian Citation Style: Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition Sample Papers
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CMS Sample Papers
Cms 17th edition changes, part iii: source citations and indexes.
Note: In previous editions of the Manual , source citations were referred to as documentation .
Chapter 14: Notes and Bibliography
- The use of ibid. is now discouraged in favor of shortened citations. ( 14.34 )
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Chicago Style Citation Examples | Website, Book, Article, Video
Published on July 25, 2018 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on December 5, 2022.
The Chicago Manual of Style provides guidelines for two styles of citation: author-date and notes and bibliography:
- In notes and bibliography style (mostly used in the humanities), you use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources.
- In author-date style (mostly used in the sciences), you use brief parenthetical references to cite sources in the text.
Chicago Reference Generator
In both styles, full source citations are listed in an alphabetized Chicago style bibliography or reference list . Make sure to pay attention to punctuation (e.g., commas , parentheses , and quotation marks ) in your notes and citations.
The Chicago Manual of Style is regularly updated. Our examples are all based on the 17th edition, which is the most recent (published in 2017).
Table of contents
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Linking to online journal articles
When citing online journal articles, use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or a stable URL, not the URL that appears in the address bar.
Authors and dates in website citations
If the web page has a named author, use this at the start of the citation as you would for any other source. If there is a date of publication or last revision, include this instead of the access date.
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