How to do Footnotes and Endnotes in Chicago Style

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Chicago Style, Essay Writing

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Information is taken from the 17th edition Chicago Manual of Style, latest version.


Understanding how to format footnotes and endnotes is crucial to any Chicago essay you write because it’s the primary way to cite sources within your text. Luckily, most word processing applications already include a footnote and endnote option that makes formatting super easy. However, it’s still crucial that you understand the basic formatting rules for footnotes and endnotes in Chicago style essays, because your word processing app may not always default to the correct settings.

First, let’s talk about the difference between footnotes and endnotes. The only thing that separates these two in-text citations is the fact that footnotes exist at the bottom of the page that the source was cited, while endnotes are found at the end of the essay, no matter what page the source was mentioned. Be sure to check with your professor to find out which note type they prefer.

Formatting Footnotes and Endnotes in Chicago Style

All footnotes and endnotes should use superscript Arabic numerals to help your readers match the note with the text’s right part. Place the superscript numerals either at the end of the sentence or the end of the clause containing the referenced information.

Here is an example of an in-text citation with its corresponding footnote/endnote:

Chicago Style | Melbee Academy

This example represents the first use of the source in an essay. However, if you reference a source more than once in an essay, you can shorten the remaining footnotes or endnotes that reference that source. Footnotes and endnotes that reference a source for the second, third, etc. time in one paper can include the author’s last name, the source’s title, and the page number from where the information was derived.

Here is an example of an in-text citation with its corresponding shortened footnote or endnote:

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Notice that you can shorten the source’s title if it’s too long. Most academic books tend to have longer, hyper-specific titles. In general, a good rule to follow is that if the title contains a colon (:), then the shortened title is what comes before the colon.

Formatting the Bibliography in Chicago Style

To format your Chicago style essay’s bibliography page, you’ll place the title “Bibliography,” centered at the top of the page. It doesn’t need to be bolded or italicized and should be Times New Roman size 12.

Some professors may ask that you title this page something else, but it’s not the norm. 

Finally, list all sources alphabetically with a space between each source. The first line should be left-aligned, while all lines after that source are indented.


These are the basic rules for formatting footnotes/endnotes and the bibliography page correctly. Not too bad, right? Now that you’ve got the formatting down for citations, it’s time to focus on writing a remarkable Chicago Style essay!

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