Skip to Main Content

Chicago Referencing Guide

Notes-Bibliography Style

Creating a note

  • To create a note, first insert a footnote in the text of your document.
  • After a direct quote, a paraphrased idea, or a reference to a source of information, insert a superscript number. In Microsoft Word, this can be done by clicking Insert Footnote under the References tab in the ribbon. Insert the footnote superscript number after any punctuation.
  • In the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page, insert your reference, including a relevant page number if the source is paginated.

The manufacture of hard-paste porcelain, a mixture of china clay and stone, was still an unsolvable problem in eighteenth century Saxony.1 As Jacobsen points out, "Von Tschirnhausen had been experimenting with these techniques for almost a decade, without results."2

  1. Jeffrey Munger, "German and Austrian Porcelain in the Eighteenth Century," The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003,

  2. Dawn Jacobson, Chinoiserie (London: Phaidon, 1999), 96.

Formatting notes

Begin each note with its reference number, either as regular text, followed by a period and a space, or as superscript text, followed by a space but no period.

Either of these reference number formats is acceptable:

  1. Rebecca Herisson, Music Theory in Seventeenth-Century England (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 12.

  2 Jon Krasner, Motion Graphic Design: Applied History and Aesthetics (Amsterdam: Focal Press, 2008), 27.

Every footnote should begin on the page where it is referenced. Put a short ruled line between the last line of text and the first footnote on each page (Microsoft Word and other word processing programs will generally do this automatically). 

Short notes

After you have provided full information about a source in the first note, subsequent notes that reference the same source need only include the author's last name, a shortened version of the title (a short phrase, not more than four words if possible), and the page number.

 4. Clay, Beautiful Thing, 41.

If the work you are citing has no author, for your shortened note use a short version of the title only. Include a page number if there is one.

 12. "A User's Guide to Pinterest."

Use of Ibid.

The abbreviation Ibid. (a short form of ibidem, Latin for ‘in the same place’) can be optionally used when a note references the identical single source cited in the previous note. Because it is an abbreviation, a final period is necessary, even when followed by a comma.

 16. Richard Weston, The House in the 20th Century (London: Laurence King, 2002), 94.

 17. Ibid., 97. 

If the reference is to the same page as the previous note (or the source is not paginated) you can omit the page number.

 18. Ibid.

Note: The use of Ibid. is discouraged in the latest edition of Chicago style (the 17th edition), due to the potential for confusion when laying out documents. Repeating a short note is preferred.

Multiple references in a note

If you cite several sources to make a single point, group them together in the same footnote. In the note, separate the citations with semi-colons.

Layering flat materials can reverse the dominance of surface and edge, to create a language of visual contradiction.5

 5. Paul Jackson, Cut and Fold Paper Textures (London: Laurence King, 2017), 36; Jason Franz, "Magic Wand: The Power of the Ballpoint Pen," Drawing 14, no. 54 (Summer 2017), Art & Architecture Complete.

Comments in notes

If you want to include a substantive comment in your footnote, as well as a citation, put the citation first, followed by the comment in a new sentence.

Periodicals that supported the radical art of Expressionism conveyed their political position through unorthodox typography and bold woodcuts as cover art.8

 8. Steven Heller, Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant-Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century (London: Phaidon, 2003). The Futurists would embrace similar methods to signify their anti-bourgeois stance.

Secondary source - in note

  • If a source that you are using includes a useful quotation from another source, you should try to obtain the original and cite that, in order to verify that the quotation is accurate and quoted in context.
  • However, if the original source is unavailable, you can cite it as quoted in the secondary source.

  24. Michael Rosen, "Nursery Rhymes and Hairy Crimes," Even my Ears are Smiling (London: Bloomsbury Childrens, 2011), quoted in Michael Joseph, "'Orphans of Poetry': The Poetry of Childhood and the Poetry for Children of Robert Graves," Book 2.0 6, no. 1/2 (2016): 9-20, Art Full Text.