Chicago/Turabian Documentation Style
The Chicago or Turabian style, sometimes called documentary note or humanities style, places bibliographic citations at the bottom of a page or at the end of a paper. You can find specific formatting, footnoting, and bibliographic information through the menu to the right, or download this information as a PDF.
Although the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (2010), which is available online, and the 8th edition of Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, edited by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff (University of Chicago Press, 2013) also offer guidelines for parenthetical documentation and reference lists, the Chicago and Turabian styles are most commonly thought of as note systems, which are frequently used in history and the arts.
Check with the instructor who assigned your paper to determine whether you need to use notes or whether you can cite sources parenthetically in the body of your paper with a reference list at the end. These pages explain the Chicago/Turabian NOTE system.
What to document
- direct quotations
- paraphrases and summaries
- information and ideas that are not common knowledge or are not available in a standard reference work
- any borrowed material that might appear to be your own if there were no citation.
If you would like more information on what needs to be documented, ask your course instructor and see our page on quoting, paraphrasing, and acknowledging sources.
For further information
If you have questions about how to cite sources other than those illustrated here, consult either The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), or Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Paper, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), both of which are available at the Writing Center and in many campus libraries.
If you are a UW–Madison student, faculty, or staff, you can access The Chicago Manual of Style online through the UW Libraries subscription.
This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in 2017.
Contributors: Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, Allen Brizee, Ryan Murphy, Vanessa Iacocca, Ryan Schnurr
Last Edited: 2018-02-16 12:40:43
As The Chicago Manual of Style is primarily intended as a style guide for published works rather than for class papers, where necessary, CMOS guidelines will be supplemented with information from the student reference, 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 and additions.
To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation style, 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.
General CMOS Guidelines
- Text should be consistently double-spaced, including block quotations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles, and figure captions.
- For block quotations, which are also called extracts:
- 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.
- Subheadings should be used for longer papers.
- CMOS recommends you devise your own format but use consistency as your guide.
- For CMOS and Turabian’s recommendations, see “Headings,” below.
- CMOS recommends you devise your own format but use consistency as your guide.
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
- According to Turabian style, class papers will either include a title page or include the title on the first page of the text. Use the following guidelines should your instructor or context require a title page:
- 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.
- Different practices apply for theses and dissertation (see Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, ad Dissertations [8th ed.].
Image Caption: CMOS Title Page
- 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.
- Titles in the text as well as in notes and bibliographies are treated with quotation marks or italics based on the type of work they name.
- 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.
- Otherwise, take a minimalist approach to capitalization.
- 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 off-set the block quote from surrounding text, indent the entire quotation using the word processor’s indentation tool. It is also possible to off-set the block quotation by using a different or smaller font than the surrounding text.
In Flowers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought, Rose eloquently sums up his argument in the following quotation:
In a society of control, a politics of conduct is
designed into the fabric of existence itself, into the
organization of space, time, visibility, circuits of
communication. And these enwrap each individual life
decision and action—about labour [sic], purchases, debts,
credits, lifestyle, sexual contracts and the like—in a web
of incitements, rewards, current sanctions and foreboding
of future sanctions which serve to enjoin citizens to
maintain particular types of control over their conduct.
These assemblages which entail the securitization of
identity are not unified, but dispersed, not hierarchical
but rhizomatic, not totalized but connected in a web or
relays and relations. (246)
- Label the first page of your back matter, and 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.
- Use “and,” not an ampersand, “&,” for multi-author entries.
- 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 you cannot name a specific page number when called for, you have other options: section (sec.), equation (eq.), volume (vol.), or note (n.).
Image Caption: CMOS References Page
- Note numbers should begin with “1” and follow consecutively throughout a given paper.
- In the text:
- 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.
- In the notes themselves:
- Note numbers are full-sized, not raised, and followed by a period (superscripting note numbers in the notes themselves is also acceptable).
- Lines within a footnote should be formatted flush left. Place commentary after source documentation when a footnote contains both; separate commentary and documentation by a period.
- 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 CMOS does not include a prescribed system for formatting headings and subheads, CMOS 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
Centered, Boldface or Italic Type, Headline-style Capitalization
Centered, Regular Type, Headline-style Capitalization
Flush Left, Boldface or Italic Type, Headline-style Capitalization
Flush left, roman type, sentence-style capitalization
Run in at beginning of paragraph (no blank line after), boldface or italic type, sentence-style capitalization, terminal period.
Here is an example of the five-level heading system:
Image Caption: CMOS Headings
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 the source of the table and figure information with a “credit line” at the bottom of the table or figure and, if applicable, after the caption. The credit line should be distinguished from the caption by being enclosed in parenthesis or written in different type.
- 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
Contributors’ names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL.
Footnote or Endnote (N):
1. Contributors’ Names, “Title of Resource,” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name, last edited date, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
1. Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert,Allen Brizee, and Vanessa Iacocca, “General Format,” The Purdue OWL, last edited date, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
Corresponding Bibliographical Entry (B):
Name, Contributor 1, Contributor 2 Name, and Contributor 3 (etc.) Name. “Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name. Last edited date. http://Web address for OWL resource.
Clements, Jessica, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, Allen Brizee, and Vanessa Iacocca. “General Format.” The Purdue OWL. Last edited date. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
Author Date In-text Citation:
(Clements et al. 2017).
Author Date References Page Citation:
Contributor 1 LastName, Contributor 1 FirstName, Contributor 2 Name, and Contributor 3 Name. Year of Publication. “Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name. Last edited date. http://Web address for OWL resource.
Clements, Jessica, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, Allen Brizee, and Vanessa Iacocca. 2017. “General Format.” The Purdue OWL. Last edited October 12, 2017. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02.