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How to Do Chicago In-Text Citation Styles

The Chicago in-text citation might look like a formidable foe, but actually, it’s versatile. Why? Because Chicago parenthetical citations offer you two different styles. Learn about author-date and notes-bibliography styles and how to create Chicago citations in-text.

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What Is the Chicago In-Text Citation?

Chicago in-text citations provide your readers with information about where your quote or paraphrased information came from. They are used throughout your Chicago style paper each time you use thoughts that are not your own. However, unlike MLA or APA, Chicago gives you options when it comes to citations. Two possibilities, in fact!

  • Author-date – found in the text itself and provides the author, date, and page number. (Smith 2018, 316-317)
  • Notes-bibliography – superscript numbers in the text and numbered citations at the end or foot of your paper (1. Smith, “Aging Art,” 316-317.)

The in-text citation you use in your Chicago paper is up to you. However, the author-date can work better for science papers and notes-bibliography for arts and humanities papers. Additionally, it is noted that most students prefer the author-date method for simplicity’s sake.

chicago and notes-biblio citation description video

Formatting Chicago Author-Date In-Text Citations

So, you’ve decided to roll with the author-date in-text citations. Now, it is time to learn how to format them in your paper. If you’ve ever used APA writing style, Chicago author-date in-text citations have a similar format. You include the last name of the author, the year the publication was published, and page number(s) the information can be found on.

Author-Date In-Text Citation Example 

Many reasons have been found for scarring of the esophagus (Morrison 2015, 216)

According to Morrison (2015, 216), many causes are found for the scarring in the throat.

For an electronic source like a website, a page number wouldn’t be available. In this instance, you include the paragraph number.

Author-Date In-Text Electronic Citation Example

Parasitic conditions can be misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal illnesses (Martin 2020, par. 12)

According to Martin (2020, par. 12), parasitic conditions can be misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal illnesses.

Chicago Footnote or Endnote Citations

Rather than opting for author-date, your instructor has challenged you to try formatting Chicago footnote or endnote in-text citations in your research paper. Before we can get into what these will look like through examples, it’s essential to clarify the difference between footnotes and endnotes.

  • Footnotes – found at the foot of the page
  • Endnotes  – found at the end of the research paper or chapter, depending on the length

Whether you use footnotes or endnotes, you format them the same within the text. After the quoted or paraphrased material, add a superscript number corresponding to the number on the notes. Additionally, your notes are listed in sequential order.

Notes In-Text Citation Example

Martin argues that “parasitic conditions can be misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal illnesses.” 1 However, it has been pointed out that there are many reasons that there could be scarring on the esophagus.2

Full Notes or Short Notes

When it comes to creating your notes, you can use either full notes or shortened notes, depending on if you have a bibliography. With a bibliography, you’ll use shortened notes within the footnotes or endnotes. If, however, you do not include a bibliography, include full notes. Additionally, based on what they are for, the set up of your notes can vary.

Book Citation Notes

A book citation note includes the first name and last name of the author, title, publisher information, date of publication, and pages for long notes. Short notes include the author’s last name, shortened title, and the page number.

Short Note Example

1. Galloway, Timeless, 240.

Full Notes Example 

1. Brian Galloway, Timeless (New York: Penguin Press, 2019), 240.

Journal Article Citations

When using notes for a journal article citation, you include the author’s first and last name, title, journal name, edition, volume, date, page number, and DOI, if available. The shortened notes only include the last name, shortened title, and the page number.

Short Note Example

2. Smith, “Livy,” 172

Full Notes Example 

2. Sharon Smith, “Livy and Dean,” New England Review 46, no. 1 (2019), https://doi.org/10.3265/326541.

Website Citations

Website citations are unique in that Chicago allows you to describe them in the text without a note. However, if you need to create a note, include the author, title, modified date, and URL in full notes. Shorted notes cover the shortened title and author, if available.

Short Note Example

3. Betts, “Chicago Format.”

Full Notes Example 

3. Jennifer Betts, “Chicago Style Format and Citations,” Bibliography.com, last modified August 7, 2020, https://www.bibliography.com/chicago/chicago-style-citations-and-format/.

Magazine or Newspaper Citation

Newspaper and magazine citations with shortened notes include the author’s last name, shortened title, and page. However, when going for the full notes, you need the first and last name, full title, magazine or newspaper name, date, and page number or URL.

Short Note Example

3. Dill, “Dystopia,” 43

Full Notes Example 

3. Debbie Dill, “Dystopian Prophecy,” New Yorker, April 26, 2020, 43.

Chicago Block Quotes

Another beast to tame in Chicago style for the in-text citations is the block quote. Why? Because the block quote doesn’t take a traditional quote format. A Chicago style block quote is indented ½ inch and has an introduction leading into the quote.

Chicago block quote example

Special Situations in Chicago In-Text Citation

While writing your in-text citations in Chicago style, you might encounter some special situations like missing publication dates, page numbers, and authors. When this happens, you can do a few different things.

  • For missing publication dates, use n.d.
  • Use the publishing organization for missing authors.
  • Use locators for missing page numbers like paragraphs or headings.

special situations chicago in-text chart

In-Text Citations With Multiple Authors

In both of these different styles, you’ll come across multiple authors in your in-text citations. How you handle numerous authors is the same for both techniques.

Two or Three Authors

List less than four authors in the order they are listed in the publication.


(Johnson, Dale, and Tunrey 2020, 220)


1. Johnson, Dale, and Turney, “Timeless Review,” 220.

Four or More Authors

Four or more authors use the et al. rather than listing all the names.


(Johnson et al. 2020, 15)


5. Johnson et al., “Timeless Review,” 220.

Creating Perfect Chicago In-Text Citations

Chicago offers you choices when it comes to creating your parenthetical citations. Just remember that no matter which format you choose, stick with it. There is no switching between the two. Now that you’ve perfected your in-text citations, it’s time to look at your reference and bibliography citations.

FAQ How to Do Chicago In-Text Citation Styles

How do you in text cite a video in Chicago style?

To cite a video in the text of your Chicago paper, you need the author's last name, year, and timestamp for the author-date style. However, for the notes-bibliography style, you need the author's last name and title of the work for shortened notes.

How do you in text cite a picture Chicago?

To create an in-text citation of an image in Chicago style, you need the creator's last name, title, and date of the work. These elements are used to create the author-date citation and shortened notes.
Author-Date Example: (Betts, 2010)
Notes- Bibliography Example: 1. Betts, "Sunrise"
For full notes, you need the format and publishing city.

How do you cite a website in Chicago style?

To cite a website in Chicago style, you need the author, date, and title. If the website does not have a date, you can use n.d. (Garrett, n.d.)

What is Chicago style format?

Chicago style format is a writing style guide created by the Chicago Press. It uses two different citation styles for in-text and reference citations.

What are footnotes in Chicago style?

In Chicago style, footnotes are used in the notes-bibliography style to provide in-text citation information. The footnote is found at the foot of the page and corresponds with a superscript number found in the body of the work. Footnotes are listed in sequential order.

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