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How to Do Chicago Style Footnotes / Endnotes: Format & Examples

chicago style footnotes
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When working on a Chicago style paper, you will most likely deal with footnotes and endnotes. 

The format for footnotes and endnotes may vary depending on the citation style being used. Today, we will talk about how to format notes in Chicago style

If you do not know how to do Chicago style footnotes and endnotes following a 17th edition format, this comprehensive guide will come in handy. Below you will find a lot of practical information that will help you in this matter. We also included Chicago style footnotes examples to give you a better idea.

Have you noticed numbers in documents after a sentence and then at the bottom of a page? Of course, everyone has come across footnotes. What is it about in the Chicago manual of style, footnotes?

A footnote is an additional information/comment that is placed at the bottom of a page. In this way, you can provide readers with additional information and cite a source that contains full information used in the current text.

To indicate footnotes in the text, use an index. Footnotes must be numbered consecutively throughout a document. They are used both in academic documents and in newspapers, books, and scholarly publications.

So what does it look like? Here is a simple example of a footnote format. 

Footnote Citation Example 

Many historians consider Chicago to be one of the most significant cities in American history due to its role in the development of industry and transportation.¹
1. John Doe, "The History of Chicago," Chicago Historical Society Journal 20, no. 2 (1995): 25.

There is also an endnote, which also should be marked in text with the superscript number. Unlike footnotes, Chicago style endnotes are usually placed at the end of a document, chapter, or paper. They are used to provide additional information in a particular section of a document. 

Endnotes are often used in academic writing for additional information and citation sources. Using endnotes is a better option if you have too many references and don’t want to staff your page with notes. This way, you won’t distract readers from reading your paper. Like footnotes, endnotes should be numbered consistently throughout the document and correspond to a superscript number in the text.

It is vital to understand that both footnotes and endnotes are used to provide additional information and link to a resource in text. What is the difference between footnotes and endnotes? The key difference between these referencing methods is where they are used in text.

Footnotes are typically placed at the bottom of the page on which a specific citation or reference is mentioned. They are used to provide clarifications on sources that can be quickly accessed by readers. Endnotes, on the other hand, are located at the end of a paper or publication. By providing notes in a separate area, you won’t disturb readers with excessive citations. 

As for which choice to make, it is necessary to take into account the requirements of a publisher and consider the amount of citations you will make. However, footnotes are more commonly used when talking about Chicago Style, as this is an opportunity for readers to immediately obtain more details on a resource you linked to.

Without further ado, let's discuss how to do footnotes in Chicago style 17th edition.

Chicago footnote citation format offers two types of notes – full notes  and short notes. When to use each type? Full notes provide complete bibliographic information and are utilized when a source is mentioned for the first time. Short notes are used when you need to indicate a source that has already been mentioned. In this case, you will indicate less details on a publication. 

To create a full note, you need to specify all details essential to identify the source. Include the author's name, title of the work, publication information, and page numbers. Here is an example designed for a book. 

Full Note Example

In this example, the full note includes the author's name, the full title and subtitle of the book, place and date of publication, and precise page range where the referenced ideas can be found.

Now, let’s imagine that you need to create a subsequent Chicago footnote citation for the same source. In this case, you will include a short note listing only the author's name,  shortened title of this book, and page numbers. Here’s an example. 

Short Note Example 

As you can see, using short notes can help to reduce repetition and clutter in a paper or document.

Now, let’s figure out how to properly place footnotes. 

In Chicago Style, a superscript number should not disrupt the overall coherence of your text. Insert a footnote number at a point where the idea being cited appears complete, be it the end of clause or entire sentence. This will establish a logical flow and make it easy for readers to understand the context of the citation.

Let’s take a look at these 2 examples. 

Superscript at the End of a Sentence 

Here, the superscript number is placed after the period that follows "destruction," indicating that the citation pertains to the entire sentence.

Superscript at the End of a Clause

In this case, a paper writer implies that the reference links to the information preceding the footnote.

There are 2 ways students can use to insert a footnote – before or after punctuation. 

According to Chicago style guidelines, footnotes should be incorporated directly after all punctuation marks, including period, comma, quotation marks, colons and semicolons. The only exception is the dash, which should be followed by the footnote number. 

 Example of Chicago Format Footnotes 

Here is a simple guide on how to do footnotes and endnotes in Chicago style format:

What to do if you use a source written by several authors? There are special requirements for formatting in such cases. Below you will find answers to such questions.

If you need to know where to start with citing with footnotes when there is one author, you can use the next example:

If you need to indicate 2 authors, list their full credentials in a full footnote separated by “and.” Specify only the author's last names in a short note, just like shown below.

If your source was created by 3 people, mention each author separated by commas and connected with “and” before the credentials of the 3rd person. Here are some samples that you can use to format it right.

When you cite a source authored by more than 4 individuals, list the first author followed by “et al.”

What to do if you have used some resources but do not have enough information to make formatting according to all the canons of Chicago style? For example, you do not have data regarding an author's last name or release date. What to do in this case? Below you can find answers to these questions.

If you need to format a footnote for a source with missing page numbers, you list information on the alternative location. For instance, if you want to include a direct quotation from a website, specify the name of the headline under which information is displayed or mention the paragraph number. Remember to abridge this information if possible: 


If you are formatting a Chicago footnote for a source with publication data being absent, replace it with “n.d.” which stands for no date. 


Sometimes you may discover that the author is missing. How to create a Chicago footnote in this case? If there is no identifiable author, list the title of the work/webpage or organization name in place of the author's name.


Want to see Chicago footnotes examples? Below you can find structures as well as examples of Chicago style footnotes format that will help you with arranging information for different sources.


How to properly format footnotes for a book? Here is a format you can use to properly form a long or short footnote.

As an example, it might look like this:

>> Read more: How to Cite a Book Chicago Style

Book Chapter

When quoting a chapter of a book, feel free to use this format.

Here is an example of footnotes in Chicago style for citing book chapters.


A general format for a journal will look different. In this case, you will need to specify extra details, such as the volume and issue number. If you have retrieved the publication online, don’t forget to add a DOI or URL in a full note.

You can use the next footnote example for reference: 

>> Learn more: How to Cite a Journal Article Chicago


When you refer to a magazine article, you should include its name, publication date, and page. Pay attention that magazine Chicago style footnote citations will require a URL if it’s published online.

Here is an example of footnotes for a magazine:

>> View more: How to Cite a Magazine in Chicago


When you need to reference a site, you also should add the name of the website page, publishing organization, revision date, and a link to the site.

Here is a Chicago style footnote example for a webpage.

>> Learn more: How to Cite a Website in Chicago


When you quote a video, it is important to include a link to it as well. In addition to a  URL, you still should mention some points. You can see a detailed structure in the table below.

Here are examples that you can use:

>> Read more: How to Cite a Youtube Video Chicago

So, as you can see, formatting Chicago footnotes and endnotes is not so difficult. The main thing in this task is not to deviate from Chicago Style guidance and always act according to the recommendations. Refer to specific rules on formatting endnotes or footnotes for each source to make sure that you don’t skip any important points.

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FAQ About Chicago Style Footnotes & Endnotes

1. What is the difference between footnotes and endnotes?

Although footnotes and endnotes are both used to specify extra details about sources, they have differences. The key difference is that they are used in different places in the document. Footnotes are used at the bottom of the page and endnotes are used at the end of the chapter or the whole document.

2. What is the difference between a footnote and citation?

In Chicago Style, a footnote is a reference citation that appears at the bottom of the page where the source is cited. A citation, on the other hand, is a more general term that refers to any reference to a source of information. It can include footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographic entries in a works cited or reference list.

3. Where do footnotes go in a Chicago style paper?

Chicago style footnote format has some requirements. Footnotes are used at the bottom of the page where the reference is placed. Numbering starts with "1" and the sequence must be maintained throughout the whole paper. If the reference is repeated, then the detailed information will be provided only once, and then you can list only core details in an abbreviated form.

4. What font size should I choose for footnotes in Chicago style?

As for specific requirements regarding how to format a footnote, a font such as 12 pt Times New Roman should be used. It is worth noting that such requirements apply to the entire document. Consult with your professor to make sure that no other formatting is expected.

5. How to cite a repeated source in Chicago style footnotes?

Each time you refer to a source, mention the source in your footnotes or endnotes.  However, for subsequent citations of the same source, you can use a shortened Chicago footnote format. The abbreviated version should only contain the author's last name, a shortened title, and the page number(s).

6. How to use endnotes?

Endnotes are similar to Chicago style paper footnotes, but should be arranged at the end of the document or section. When using Chicago Style, it is important to remember consecutive numbering and placement on the correct page at the end of the document.

Article posted on:Sep 14, 2022
Article updated on:May 8, 2023


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