What is Footnoting/Endnoting (Chicago Style)?

Sometimes called “Chicago Style,” footnotes and endnotes are different from in-text citation methods (such as APA or MLA). Footnotes and endnotes require you to include detailed information about each source as you cite it. With few exceptions, you should use either footnotes or endnotes in your paper, not both. Many professors prefer that you use footnotes rather than endnotes. Check with your professor to see what he or she prefers.

The guidelines for this style are published in the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

When to Include a Footnote/Endnote

Review the rules of documenting and integrating quotation with examples from the Footnoting (Chicago) style.

How to Create Footnotes (Chicago Style)

For those who are new to the footnoting (Chicago) style of documentation, this page clearly explains the basics of creating footnotes or endnotes, including information about how to use your word processing program to insert reference numbers in the text of your paper.

How to Create a Bibliography (Chicago Style)

This page offers general rules of formatting for the bibliography, including details about line spacing, indenting, punctuation, and font style.

Footnotes/Bibliography Entries by Source (Chicago Style)

Organized by six categories (Books, Sections of Books, Periodicals, Electronic Sources, Other Sources, and Variations), this page contains links to 32 examples of footnotes and bibliographic entries, which demonstrate the detailed variance between types of sources often documented in academic work. 

Chicago Style Author-Date System

Some professors will require you to use an author-date system in the Chicago Style. Rather than footnotes or endnotes, you use a parenthetical citation to cite your evidence. Do not use both systems in the same paper.

Formatting Guidelines and Sample for Chicago Style

This page offers useful formatting guidelines about font size, margins, capitalization, line spacing, paragraphing, and more.  In addition, a pdf sample paper is available as an example of these guidelines.

Printable Guide for Footnoting/Endnoting (Chicago Style)



When to Include a Footnote/Endnote

When You Have Used Your Own Words, Use a Footnote/Endnote to Cite:

  • someone else's ideas or arguments that you have paraphrased or summarized.
  • information or numerical data that is not common knowledge.

For example:

9.7 million soldiers were killed during World War I. 1

However, information that is considered common knowledge within a discipline does not need a footnote. For example, the following would be considered common knowledge in history:

It is well known that World War I began in 1914 and was triggered by the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.

Deciding what is common knoweldge can be tricky.  So...

When in doubt, cite your source!

Use Footnotes/Endnotes Immediately After Direct Quotations:

  • If you use a source’s exact words, this is referred to as a direct quotation. You must immediately follow it with a footnote/endnote.

For example:

Hurl-Eamon argues for the importance of studying the wives of soldiers, claiming that they provide “a window into a much larger issue in early modern labour history.”1

  • If you use a quotation that is longer than a hundred words (about 8 lines), set it off from the rest of your text as a block quotation. Block quotations begin on a new line and are indented using the indent button. Do not put quotation marks around block quotations. Block quotations are immediately followed by a footnote/endnote.

For example:


Hurl-Eamon argues for the importance of studying the wives of soldiers, claiming that:

Military wives are a window into a much larger issue in early modern labour history. Though eighteenth-century wives were expected to contribute to the household coffers and the male breadwinner ideology did not take hold until the following century at the earliest, significant aspects of early modern culture presumed wifely dependence. Husbands were expected to “maintain” their wives, and parish overseers prosecuted men who did not uphold their duty of giving wives sufficient food, clothing, and shelter for their survival.2