Best Free Chicago Reference Generator

Knowing how to use citations and create a bibliography is essential to writing an excellent academic paper. Below, you will find the perfect Chicago reference generator that completely meets your requirements.

We will also explain the essentials of the Chicago referencing style and offer helpful tips on properly using the citation makers.

Keep reading!

12 Best Chicago Reference Generators

Writing academic papers is a time-consuming process, and citations are an inevitable part of it. Of course, you can create them manually. But there are plenty of reference makers that will save you loads of time.

Check our Chicago citation generators ranking, read the description, and choose the best one.

Chicago Citation Generator File export Extensions/Apps Source Types Supported Pricing Ads IvyScore
Zotero HTML, TXT, LaTeX, Zotero RDF, MS Word Desktop App, Chrome and Firefox extension 40+ reference material types Free, starting from $20/year for extra storage Ad-free 5
CiteMaker Email, MS Word, Google Docs, or PDF Chrome extension Book, Book Section, Journal, Periodical, Website Free Ad-free 5
Bibliography Email, MS Word Chrome extension 10 source types Free Ad-free 5
Docear MS Word, LaTeX Desktop App, MS Word Add-on 20+ source types Free Ad-free 5
Reference Generator MS Word, Google Docs, etc. Android App, Desktop App Books, Journals, Websites Free Ad-free 4
Reference Generator MS Word, Google Docs, etc. Android App, Desktop App Books, Journals, Websites Free Ad-free 4
OttoBib Copy and paste Chrome extension Books only Free Ad-free 4
Citation Builder Copy and paste Web version only Book, Book Section, Journal, Periodical, Website Free Ad-free 4
Bibguru MS Word, BibTeX, RIS Web version only 20+ source types Free, requires registration Ad-free 4
Cite4me Email, MS Word Web version only 13 source types Free Ad-free 4
Opendemia Copy and paste Web version only Book, Book Section, Journal, Periodical, Website Starting from $0 Ad-free 4
Ozzz Copy and paste Web version only Book, Book Section, Journal, Periodical, Website Free Ads 3
WorksCited4u Email, MS Word Web version only 14 source types Free Ads 3

1. Zotero

Zotero is a great reference management system that will help you gather, organize, and share your sources. You can use their browser plugin, install a desktop app, or create a Chicago-style citation online using the ZoteroBib service. The desktop app works on Mac and Windows OS. You can sync all the research data across devices and access it from any browser.

Zotero Chicago Reference Generator.

You can create a Chicago author-date citation or choose a note-bibliography format. Make citations in one click or manually input reference data: title, date, author's name, and more. You won't miss any details.

Zotero is free software and provides its users with 300 MB of storage. Although, if you need extra storage, you should purchase a subscription, which costs starts from $20/year.

Zotero key features:

  • Personalized Source Libraries
  • Support for various source types
  • Integration with MS Word and Google Docs
  • Desktop apps and browser extensions
  • No ads
  • Free.

2. CiteMaker

CiteMaker is an excellent alternative to paid reference management systems. It is beneficial if you don't want to pay for features you will never use.

CiteMaker Reference Generator.

CiteMaker supports only the most common citation styles: Chicago, Harvard, MLA, APA, Oxford, and Turabian referencing formats. In addition, you may use the auto-fill or manual modes to cite a source. The auto-fill mode allows you to create a citation using ISBN, BibTeX citation, DOI, or website URL. Then, preview the citation and copy it to your paper.

You can export citations from CiteMaker to Google Drive, MS Word, PDF, or share it via email. Register if you want to save the bibliography.

CiteMaker key features:

  • 6 citation styles supported
  • Chrome extension
  • Auto-fill and manual citation modes
  • Support for various source types
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

3. Bibliography

Bibliography is a free online Chicago reference generator without ads. This platform deserves your attention because of its simplicity and clean interface.

Bibliography Chicago Citation Generator.

You can use their website or install the Chrome extension, which also works well with Edge and Brave browsers. Bibliography allows you to cite in automatic mode and offers suggestions with related sources. Use them to broaden knowledge about the topic.

The tool can cite ten types of sources: cite books, websites, or journals with ease. Also, it will help you to organize references, create Chicago in-text citations, and export them to MS Word or Google Docs.

If you work on a group project, Bibliography can help build a collaborative reference list and share it with your peers.

Bibliography key features:

  • 3 citation styles supported
  • Chrome extension
  • Auto-fill and manual citation modes
  • 10 source types
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

4. Docear

Docear is an open-source bibliography management tool that is free and contains no ads. The software is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Docear Bibliography Management Tool.

With its help, you will be able to organize your research and create categories for your citations. In addition, you can export references to MS Word and LaTeX formats. Another exciting feature is a mind-mapping option.

Docear supports over 1,700 citation styles, so you will definitely properly format your writing.

Docear key features:

  • 1,700+ citation styles supported
  • Desktop app
  • Auto-fill and manual citation modes
  • Support for various source types
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

5. Reference Generator

If you are looking for a tool that will work on mobile devices and desktop computers, try Reference Generator. It will simplify the tedious work of creating references. Moreover, the app is free and works on Windows, iOS, and Android.

Reference Generator.

Reference Generator will help you create a citation in Chicago, APA, Harvard, and other popular reference styles. You will organize your citations and share them through various apps: Dropbox, Google Docs, Notes, etc.

Reference Generator key features:

  • Chicago, Harvard, APA, MLA, IEEE, Royal Society of Chemistry, and other styles supported
  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Auto-fill and manual citation modes
  • Citations from books, journals, and websites
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

6. OttoBib

If you're looking for a free Chicago citation creator without any ads, you've found it. OttoBib is a simple online tool with a straightforward interface.

OttoBib Citation Generator.

You can create a book citation in MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and other formats. Just type the ISBN of a book into the generator, and you will receive a ready-to-use reference. There is also a Chrome extension available for this app.

The tool doesn't allow export to Word or any other format. You can only copy the citation in Chicago style and paste it into your document.

OttoBib key features:

  • Chicago/Turabian, APA, MLA, and AMA styles supported
  • Search books by ISBN
  • Chrome extension
  • Citations from books
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

7. Citation Builder

Citation Builder is a free Chicago author-date citation generator hosted by the NC State University. You won't find any distractions here. The website has a simplistic interface and contains no ads.

Citation Builder by NC State University.

To create a Chicago-style citation for a primary source, you need to manually fill out the information about the book, book section, journal, periodical, or website. Then, in the next step, Citation Builder will generate a reference. Then, all you are left to do is to copy and paste it into your document.

Citation Builder also supports APA, MLA, and CSE/CBE styles.

Citation Builder key features:

  • Chicago author-date, APA, MLA, and CSE/CBE styles supported
  • Citations from books, book sections, journals, periodicals, or websites
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

8. BibGuru

BibGuru is an online free Chicago citation maker developed by the Paperpile team. The primary goal of BibGuru is to help K12 and undergraduate students.

BibGuru Chicago Citation Generator.

BibGuru offers auto-fill and manual entry mode. With auto-fill mode, you need to put URL, ISBN, title, or author, choose the appropriate result, and get the citation. BibGuru searches across 100 million journal articles and 30 million books.

You can download the result to MS Word, BibTeX, and RIS, or copy and paste it to your document. Without registration, all your references will expire within a few days. Register to save your projects. Registration is free and allows you to create multiple projects and organize citations.

BibGuru key features:

  • 20 citation styles supported
  • Support for dozens of source types
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

9. Cite4Me

Another ad-free Chicago reference creator on our list is the Cite4Me website. The modern interface will allow you to create a reference within a few clicks and export it to MS Word or share it via email.

Cite4Me Chicago Citation Generator.

Like most free citation generators, you will be able to create a reference in automatic or manual mode. The website supports 13 source types, including books, websites, and scholarly articles.

To complete the citation, you will be asked to register or login into your account.

Cite4Me key features:

  • Chicago, APA, MLA, and other citation styles supported
  • Support for 13 source types
  • Ad-free
  • Free.

10. Opendemia

Opendemia allows its user to create works cited pages and in-text citations in Chicago style, take notes on sources, and copy citations into the paper.

Opendemia Reference Management System.

Opendemia is a full-fledged reference management system that will help you to build your own virtual library and store every source you ever used. With apps help, you can easily organize all the notes and citations conveniently. The tool supports three common citation styles: Chicago, APA, and MLA.

Opendemia is free; however, it has some limitations: ads, only one shared folder, 15 sources per project, etc. To get premium features, you should purchase a subscription for $10 per semester.

Opendemia key features:

  • Chicago, APA, MLA citation styles supported
  • Reference management system
  • Support for PDFs attachment.

11. Ozzz

Ozzz is a free and easy-to-use Chicago citation maker. It lets you create references in Chicago format and APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, and IEEE styles.

Ozzz Chicago Citation Maker.

You can use this website to create a citation from a book, book section, journal, periodical, or website. Complete the required fields, get a result within seconds, and copy it to your paper. Ozzz doesn't require registration.

Ozzz key features:

  • Chicago, APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, and IEEE citation styles supported
  • Citations from books, book sections, journals, periodicals, or websites
  • Free.

12. WorksCited4U

The last Chicago citation generator in our list is WorkCited4u. It is free and has a clear and straightforward interface.

WorkCited4u Citation Generator.

Use it to create a reference in Chicago, APA, or MLA citation styles. There are two options available for creating a reference: auto or manual entry modes. Once you make a citation, you may export it to MS Word, print it, or share it via email.

If you want to save your bibliography list, don't forget to register.

WorksCited4U key features:

  • Chicago, APA, MLA citation styles supported
  • Export to MS Word
  • Free.

What Is Chicago Referencing Style?

Chicago referencing style, or the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), is a style guide published by the University of Chicago Press. The guide focuses on American English and regulates written standards concerning source citation, formatting and page layouts, and preparation of manuscripts for publication.

You might have noticed two reference formats: the Chicago Author-Date system and the Notes-Bibliography system. Below, we will share the key features of these two systems and explain how and when they should be used.

Chicago Manual of Style: Notes-Bibliography vs. Author-Date

Let's take a closer look at the key differences between Chicago style notes-bibliography and Chicago Author-Date style system:

Notes-Bibliography Author-Date
🎓 Area of studies Arts, History, Humanities, Culture, and Literature Natural, Physical, and Social Sciences
📜 In-text citations Superscript in the text + endnote or footnote citation Parenthetical in-text citations
✔️ Reference page Not necessary Mandatory
🔎 Reference list entry example Thomas, Sue. Imperialism, Reform, And The Making Of Englishness In Jane Eyre. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2014.
Thomas, Sue. 2014. Imperialism, Reform, And The Making Of Englishness In Jane Eyre. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chicago Reference Style 17th Edition: Key Features

In 2017, the University of Chicago Press released the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. The edition has over 2,000 hyperlinked paragraphs in the online version and more than a thousand pages in the print version.

Check the list below to find out more about the most significant changes in the CMOS 17th edition:

1. Website titles. The 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of style regulates the formatting of websites' titles. Thus, if the website doesn't have a print version — don't stylize it. Otherwise, you should write the title in italics:

The Wall Street Journal

2. Footnotes without "ibid." The 16th and earlier CMOS editions required you to use "ibid" in footnotes. It was aimed to show you readers that you cite the source twice or more times in a note. Now, you can omit it and use the author's last name and a page number of the source:

Thomas, 15

3. Repeat the year for the sources that can be identified by date and month. Chicago Author-Date style allows you to repeat the month and day when you cite sources that these parameters can identify:

Martin, JoAnn. 2019. "Opinion: Why the Trade War Won't Hurt Black Friday Sales." CNN. Cable News Network. November 27, 2019.

Why, What, and When to Cite?

We bet you hate creating references manually. Citation generators have become true salvation that significantly eases the tedious part of academic writing.

Some students don't understand why, when, and how they should cite their sources. Below, we will answer these questions and provide some recommendations on how to use reference makers when writing your paper.

Keep reading!

Why Should I Cite My Sources?

One might think that a paper overloaded with references shows the lack of competence of its author. However, this statement is not true. A paper with references proves that you've done thorough research to find proper arguments. So, why is citing important?

🖋️ Give credit. Giving credit to the source, you show your recognition to its author.

🖋️ Set up your own credibility. As we already mentioned, references in your paper show that you've done a great research job. Thus, your readers will understand that the ideas and theories you provide in the writing piece have a solid argument base.

🖋️ Help your audience better understand the topic. References allow your audience to check the quotes and ideas in their original context. Your reader can always check them to find out more about the paper subject.

What Do I Need to Cite?

Another question that arises when it comes to citing sources is when you need to cite? Should you cite web pages? Here is the answer:

  • Direct quotations from another person
  • Summary of other's work
  • Graphs and charts from another author's work
  • Facts and data, when the information is not well-know
  • Websites, blogs, and online magazines
  • Your peer's ideas
  • Your previous papers

There's a small secret for citing: when you're in doubt — cite!

What Are the Consequences of Not Citing a Source?

When you use someone else's work or idea without citing it, it is plagiarism. In its turn, if you're caught on plagiarizing, you even might be excluded from the university.

Nora Roberts Plagiarism Quote.

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and, in most cases, violates the college or university honor codes. When you're not giving credit to your source, you make it impossible for your readers to check the origins for more information.

Even if you cite all the sources, you still may be caught on plagiarism. For example, when you violate style paraphrasing rules, use the wrong citation style, or use someone's image without permission or credit.

How to Use Citation Generators Properly?

When you're citing, you should include references in the body of your paper and its end. You must use Chicago in-text citations immediately after a quote, paraphrase, or summary in the body. At the end of your paper, you need to list all the sources you used in your essay, even if you did not cite them in the text.

To ease the tedious citation process, you can use reference generators. Depending on the tool you choose, you may get in-text citations, a single reference, or a bibliography page. First, however, you need to remember these rules to ensure your citations are correct:

  1. Make your notes during the research. Most Chicago citation creators listed above allow you to create citations automatically. Although they can suggest you a wrong book or an article, not the one you used as a source. Always note the author, title, publisher, etc.
  2. Create an in-text citation as you write. Developing the bibliography as you go will ease your revision process and ensure that you credited all your sources.
  3. Carefully check the chosen citation style. Not all generators use updated style guides. Make sure that the style you selected in the app meets the instructor's requirements.
  4. Avoid using only one source. Using multiple sources will save from overusing a single source.
  5. Check the information that the generator gives you. A reference creator is only a tool. If you enter the wrong data or choose the wrong source, you will mislead your readers, and you can be accused of plagiarism.
  6. Don't hesitate to ask for help. If you're not sure that your citations are correct, check the style guidelines and ask a research librarian or instructor. Also, you can always reach out to Ivypanda experts for professional help.

Now, you know how to properly cite in Chicago referencing style and have all the necessary tools and tips to prepare an A+ paper. So, it is time to get started! Good luck with your writing!

📌 Chicago Citation Style: FAQ

📌 How to Use Footnotes in Chicago Style?

Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page. You may be required to use full or short notes. Full notes must contain the complete source details of the source. Short notes include only the author's name, title, and page number (if applicable).

Make sure to check the instructions if you are not sure which type of footnote you should use. The guidelines of using short and full notes may vary depending on the institution and field of study.

📌 How to Do Endnotes in Chicago Style?
Endnotes should be listed at the end of your paper on separate pages before the bibliography. Place the title "Notes" on the top of the endnotes first page. Make sure it is centered, and there is a one-inch margin from the top of the page.
📌 What Font Is Used in Chicago Style?

Chicago Manual of Style doesn't specify the font you should use in your paper. We recommend using standard double-spaced 12 pt Times New Roman or Arial fonts.

Don't forget to add margins of at least one inch on all sides.

📌 How to Cite Chicago Style in Word?

MS Word allows you to generate a bibliography in Chicago style automatically. Follow these simple steps to create a citation:

  1. Open Citations & Bibliography group on the References tab.
  2. Select the citation style: Chicago, MLA, or APA.
  3. Click Insert Citation and choose Add New Source from the dropdown menu.
  4. Add source details in the Create Source box and make your citation.