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Chicago A: Notes and Bibliography Style:  Footnote citations

UON Library guide to Chicago A: Notes and Bibliography Style 17th edition

General rules for footnote citations


Basic Structure of a Footnote

  • A footnote lists the author, title, and publication details, in that order.
  • Elements are separated by commas; the publication details are enclosed in parentheses. 
  • Authors’ full names are presented in standard order (first name first). 
  • Titles are capitalised headline-style, e.g. Introduction to Psychology
  • Titles of larger works (e.g., books and journals) are italicised; titles of smaller works (e.g., chapters, articles) or unpublished works are enclosed in quotation marks. 
  • If a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is available for your source, cite the DOI instead of URL or database name 
  • Chicago does not require access dates in the citations for web sources unless no date of publication can be determined.


General Rules for Footnotes

  • Footnote number in the text leads readers to the footnote at the bottom of the same page.
  • In-text note numbers should generally be placed at the end of a sentence after the punctuation (eg. full stops, brackets and commas, except for the dash, which it precedes.).
  • In-text footnote numbers run in sequential order across the document, i.e. each repeated citation will have a new number, even when the cited pages are the same.
  • Footnote number at bottom of page can be either in normal size with a period, e.g. 1., or in superscript, e.g. 1
  • Footnotes should be single line spaced, with the first line indented by half an inch (1.27 cm).
  • If a source has four or more authors, list only the first author followed by et al.
  • When no author (unknown author) is available, cite the work by its title in both footnotes and bibliography.
  • When no date is available, the abbreviation “n.d.” replaces the date.
  • For secondary sources, include both the original and the secondary sources in footnotes and bibliography.
  • Cite a source in full for the first time, and use a shortened citation for repeated footnotes. Use of ibid. is not encouraged in Chicago 17th edition.
  • shortened citation includes only author surname, shortened title (for titles of four words or more), and page(s) cited, e.g. 2. Weller, Digital Scholar, 51. 
  • To avoid repetition, the title of a work just cited may be omitted, e.g. 3. Weller, 53. 
  • A short direct quotation (word-for-word) should be run in to the surrounding text and enclosed in quotation marks; a long quotations (eg a hundred words or more) should be set off as block quotation (indented and without quotation marks).  Place the in-text note number after the quotation, and in the footnote include the page number/s where the quotation appeared. 
  • Page numbers are also required when citing secondary citations or paraphrasing specific information.
  • For multiple citations within one note, order them by importance; if they are equally important, alphabetise them by author's surname. Use a semi colon (;) between them to separate the citations.
  • Such terms as editor/edited by, translator/translated by, volume, and edition are abbreviated.
  • In a slide-based presentation using software such as PowerPoint or Keynote, when you borrow material (quotations, paraphrases, images, videos, and whatever else you copy or adapt), you may provide the citations by:
    • including brief or full footnote citations on each slide, and/or 
    • adding a bibliography on a slide at the end.

Sample footnotes


Chicago A features numbered footnotes in the text. Sources are cited in numbered footnotes and each footnote corresponds to a raised (superscript) number in the text.

See a sample of footnotes on the CMOS site.

Chicago A Footnote Abbreviations


Abbreviations are used regularly in the footnote citations. 

  • The names of months that are longer than four letters can be abbreviated or spelled out as needed. 

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. and Dec.

  • The abbreviation fig. may be used for figure, but table, map, plate, and other illustration forms are spelled out.

  • Common academic abbreviations used in the footnotes: 
    • Where confusion may result, spell out the word instead.
    • The plurals of the noun abbreviations given here other than p. are formed through the addition of s (e.g. chaps. for chapters).


  Abbreviation   Full Term   Abbreviation   Full Term
           app.   appendix








  editor, edition,

  edited by



et al.

  and others




  no date











  translated by








How to Insert a Footnote in MS Word


To insert a footnote into the text in MS Word:

  • click where you want to insert a footnote in the text, then
  • click the References tab on the top menu, and then 
  • click Insert Footnote.

A superscript note number will be inserted into the text, and a corresponding footnote number created at the bottom of page.


To change the footnote number from superscript to normal size:

  • Highlight the footnote number
  • On the Home tab, click the Superscript icon X2
  • To change it back, click the icon again


For more information see the following sites from MS support:

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