Free Chicago Referencing Generator

Generate Chicago reference for a Book

Use the full author name, like "Smith, John".

Only required if you a quoting or referring to a specific piece of text.

Plus, a handy guide on how to do Chicago-style referencing…

Always remember to check your references and citations before submitting them with your work. Always get your tutor or a university staff member to check your references before you submit your work.

Chicago Referencing Guide

When is Chicago referencing used?

The Chicago referencing style originates, unsurprisingly, from the University of Chicago. It is used mainly in the humanities subjects and is used in English (alongside the MLA referencing style) and in history, art history and music.

You will need to reference the materials and resources you have used for your own writing in three places:

  1. In-text citations: A small number is added (in superscript) onto the end of the information you need to reference (following any punctuation), which links the info to the full details of the reference found in a footnote at the bottom of the page. These superscript numbers increase in sequence throughout your text – ¹,²,³, etc.
    For example:
    The Tabletop theory¹ is challenged by the studio-based movement.² Farthing argues that ‘the movement was clearly drawing a line under…³’.

  2. Footnotes: The full details of these materials need to be noted as a footnote at the bottom of the same page you refer to them on. For example:
    ¹Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 225.

  3. Reference List: Directly after your essay, you then list the sources you’ve used in full, organised alphabetically by the author’s surname.

Additionally, if you’ve done other reading around the subject, but aren’t referring to those texts specifically, you can choose to list those sources in a
Bibliography at the end of your essay. Any bibliography will not be included in your word count.  

Exactly what to include in each of these locations depends on the type of source the information comes from. Our referencing tool will ask you for what’s needed for each material type, but if you don’t have everything you need, this guide takes you through what you need to do. As well as this, we explain how in-text citations and footnotes are formatted in the Chicago referencing style.

How to use our free Chicago referencing generator

Don’t forget that doing your referencing incorrectly could impact your marks. Always take some time before you submit your assignment to manually check your reference list once you’ve assembled it.

To use our free referencing tool, simply select which kind of resource you need to reference and fill in all the information that’s needed for that specific source material type. Then click ‘Generate reference’ and your Chicago style reference will be ready for you to paste into your Reference List. It’s as easy as that. 

If you don’t have all the information you need, that’s when things get a little more complicated. See the next section if you’re missing some of the essential info.  

What to do if you don't have all the information

You don’t know an author’s name

If you’re looking at a source that doesn’t state who it’s been written by, you should firstly question its credibility. There may be times it does need to be included anyway, so if that’s the case, you’ll just need to make do with the information you can find. Use any listed contributors instead – if it’s an online resource, you should be able to find a name on the ‘About’ section of their website. 

For a printed resource, you could use the publication company as the author as the last resort. You’ll find this just inside the cover of the publication. Never use ‘Anonymous’. The publisher or an organisation is always better eg The National Museum of Art History. In the reference list, the example would come under N (rather than ‘The’).

You don’t know the publication date

Again, you should question a resource if it can’t be dated. Sometimes however, you will need to reference classical or historical references that won’t have a precise date. There may be occasions when a resource you’re looking at doesn’t have a date but you’ve happened to find reference to it elsewhere. If this is the case, you should put that date in brackets, adding a question mark to note that the date is uncertain – for example, [1952?]. If a date is approximate, you mark it with a ‘ca.’ (for circa) – for example, [c.1921]. And, if there are simply no dates to be found, you can use (n.d.) which stands for ‘no date’. 

If it’s an online resource you’re using, you could use the date a page was last updated. 

You don’t know the page numbers

If you’re referencing a certain page of a text and you don’t have the page number, use ‘n.p.’, which stands for ‘no pagination’.

Chicago Referencing - Your questions answered

How should you format footnotes?

In the footnote, names are given in Forename Surname format. For example:

¹Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 225.

But, in your Reference List or any bibliography you might be including, they are formatted a little differently. The superscript number and page number is dropped and the surname goes first and followed with a comma. So, it will look like this:

Farthing, Stephen. ART The Whole Story. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010.

What if a source has multiple contributors?

If a source has two or three authors or editors, you need to include all of their names in full and in the order they appear in that source. For example:

Kevin Strong and Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. 2010), 242. 

If a source has four or more contributors, you just give the name of the first one (in the order they appear in the text) followed by ‘et al.’ which means ‘and others’.  For example:

Kevin Strong er al., ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 242-249.

What if you need to refer to a source more than once in your essay?

  • If you’ve referenced a source and then you continue to reference it, you don’t need to include the entire footnote again. You can simply use the Latin abbreviation ‘ibid.’ (meaning ‘in the same place’). It will look like this:

¹Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 225.

²Ibid., 231-249.

  • If you need to refer to the same source at various points throughout your essay and the title is five words or longer, you can abbreviate the footnote to something shorter that the reader will still understand. For example: 

First footnote

¹Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 225.

Subsequent footnotes:

²Farthing, ART, 40-49.

When should you use quotation marks, and how should they appear?

If it’s useful to include word-for-word text from a source, make sure it sits between double quotation marks “like these” to distinguish it from your own ideas. But, if you’re quoting any music references, these should be in single quotation marks, ‘like these’. In your footnote that links to your quoted information, you need to include the page number the quote is found. 

If your quote is 1 or 2 lines long (or 2 lines or less of poetry), you should integrate the quote within your text. For example:

As Dadswell states, “the studio-based moment didn’t…”.¹

But, if you are including a longer quote that is made up of 3 lines or more (or 2 or more lines of poetry), you should drop the quotation marks and it should be separated out from the text a little. To do this, you simply move the quote to a new line and indent it.
For example, 

Farthing states that:

Pottery making has been an integral component of indigenous communities in the Southwest for thousands of years. Until the early 20th century, when tourist demand for pots outstripped supply, pottery making was the domain of Puebloan women. Like their ancestors, Pueblo women gathered clay from sacred places (281). ¹

If you need to quote directly from a poem, play or other performance, you simply include the line in double quotation marks (as usual) as well as the line number. For example: 

Dadswell paints a descriptive picture of the forest in “Two Trees Down”, which begins with “There wasn’t a sound to be heard,” ¹

In the footnote, it should be written as:

¹Matthew Dadswell, “Two Trees Down,” in A Tale of Two Trees. Thomas Burley (Brighton: i360 Drama, 2020), 52, lines 1-2.

If you’re quoting a dialogue between two or more characters, you need to include their names too so it’s clear that there is a back and forth. In your footnote, you need to include the line number (if there is one) in the same format it appears in the play. For example:

Bill: What time is it?

Ben: I have no idea Bill.

Bella: I have the time. It’s 10 to 2.

(Macbeth, I.7.29–32) ¹

¹William Shakespeare, Macbeth, ed. by Nicholas Brooke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), i.7.46-51.

If you need to quote directly from poetry, play or other performance and the quote is longer than a couple of lines, you should remove the quotation marks and indent the text (just like you do for any other longer quote, described above).

When should you include page numbers?

When you are quoting something that you’ve read or heard elsewhere, word-for-word, you need to let the reader know where to find it. This will also include a specific detail like an illustration, chart, table or even a particular theory that you’re referring to. You can include page numbers either as a one-off page in parenthesis or you can include the range of pages the information is, start to finish. 

What’s included in your word count?

Any in-text citations you use are usually included in your word count. Your Reference List / any bibliography are not included in your word count. 

However, when it comes to your footnotes, it’s a little more complicated. Whether these are included in your word count depends on the type of the source you are referencing. English based sources are included whereas art history sources are not included. When it comes to history sources, footnotes that only contain a reference to material are not included, but discursive footnotes (those which give additional information) are included. 

How do you format URLs in your footnote?

You simply add a comma after the date of the source, then include the URL in full (including the ‘http://www…’).

What if more than one author contributes to an argument you’re making?

If you’re using a number of sources to support an argument that you’re making, you cite them all within one footnote, in order of who appeared first in the source. It should look like this: 

Dadswell and Strong, Farthing and Burley analysed the ceramics made by the Pueblo women and all found that…¹


¹Mary Dadswell and Kevin Strong, The Pueblo Pottery (Brighton: BN Publications, 2021), 2; Stephen Farthing, ART The Whole Story (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2010), 7; Thomas Burley, Ceramics Over Time (London The Production Press), 12.