Chicago Citation Generator

Knowing how to use citations and create a bibliography is essential to writing a good academic paper. In this article, IvyPanda experts will share their top 12 choices for Chicago reference generators. They will also explain the essentials of Chicago referencing style, and offer helpful tips on how to use the citation makers properly.

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Top 12 Chicago Style Generators

Below, you will find a list of the best Chicago citation generators that you can use to create an in-text citation or bibliography for your paper.

1. Reference Generator

Chicago Reference Generator

If you’re looking for an application to use on your desktop, look no further! The Reference Generator will help you to create a citation in Chicago, APA, Harvard, and other popular reference styles. You will be able to organize your citations and share them through various apps: Dropbox, Google Docs, Notes, etc. The tool is free and works with the Windows operating system.

2. Ozzz

OZZZ Chicago Citation Generator

Ozzz is a free and easy-to-use Chicago citation maker. It lets you create references not only in Chicago format but also in APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, and IEEE styles. You can use this app to create a citation from a book, journal, periodical, or website.

3. OttoBib

OttoBib Citation Generator

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 clear interface. 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.

4. Citation Generator

Citation Generator

Citation Generator is a free, online citation maker for Chicago, MLA, APA, and CSE citation formats. Just choose the type of source and pick your preferred reference format to get your citation! The tool also offers a Chrome extension to make your referencing even easier.

5. ClassTools

ClassTools Reference Generator

This is another simple citation maker that allows you to create a citation automatically. To generate a reference, you can paste a website URL or search with keywords. Then, you can choose the appropriate source from the list and create a citation. You can pick from either Chicago, APA, MLA, or Harvard reference formats.

6. Citation Machine

Citation Machine - Chicago Citation Generator

Citation Machine is a service offered by Chegg, which can generate citations in various styles. To create a reference, choose either auto-fill or manual entry mode, search for your source with keywords, and grab your citation. The service is free. However, if you want to use additional features like plagiarism or grammar checks, you should register and subscribe to a premium plan. The subscription costs $9.95 per month.

7. Citation Builder

NC State Citation Builder

If you’re looking for a Chicago author-date citation generator, check out this tool. The NC State University’s Citation Builder allows you to create a reference with just a few clicks. The tool also allows you to cite in APA, MLA 7th and 8th editions, and CSE styles.

8. WorksCited4u

WorksCited4u Citation Maker

WorkCited4u has a clear and simple interface that allows you 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. If you want to save your bibliography list, you will need to register. The service is free and contains no ads.

9. CiteMaker

CiteMaker Reference Tool

You can create a Chicago reference easily with CiteMaker. This is a simple, online reference builder that enables manual and automated citation generation. It offers Chicago, APA, MLA, and other citation styles.

10. Researchomatic

Researchomatic Reference Generator

Researchomatic is a free, online citation generator. The website only offers manual entry mode. You can create a citation in Chicago, Turabian, APA, MLA, Oxford, Vancouver, CBE, Cambridge, AMA, AP, APSA, MHRA, AGPS, AGPS (Harvard), Harvard, ASA, and IEEE styles.

11. Cite4me

Cite4me Chicago Citation Generator

Cite4me is an ad-free, online Chicago reference maker. You can choose to cite a book, journal, magazine article, interview, or web page. This service is free but registration is required. Other reference styles are available on the website as well.

12. Zotero

Zotero Chicago Citation Software

Zotero is a powerful citation management software aimed at organizing your research process. You can use it to create a citation, manage your references, and share them with friends. The tool supports citations in over 9,000 styles and exports them in popular file formats. The tool is free; however, if you need access to more space, you can upgrade your plan.

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.

Using the Chicago Manual of Style will ease the reading process for your readers, allowing them to focus on your ideas without any distractions, like unfamiliar formatting. Also, when you stick to this reference format in your paper, you establish your credibility and show respect for your audience and your field of research.

The Chicago Manual of Style is widely used by students and writers in fields such as Art, English, History, and the Sciences.

Basics of Chicago Citation Style

You might have noticed that there are two different Chicago style options: 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 Notes-Bibliography System

The Chicago Notes-Bibliography system is widely used by history students, scientists, and writers. As the name implies, the system involves using notes, specifically endnotes and footnotes. If you include a bibliography or reference list, you should still insert a concise citation into the text. If you don’t use a reference list, you have to provide the complete details of the source when it is first mentioned.

Chicago Author-Date System

The Chicago Author-Date system is commonly used in Sciences and Social Sciences. Unlike the Notes-Bibliography system, it uses parenthetical in-text citations instead of footnotes or endnotes. At the end of the paper, you should also provide all the relevant details of your sources in a reference list.

Check out these Chicago Author-Date citation examples:

  • In-text citation:

(Thomas 2014, 8)

  • Reference list entry:

Thomas, Sue. 2014. Imperialism, Reform, And The Making Of Englishness In Jane Eyre. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chicago Reference Style: History of Editions

The Chicago Manual of Style was created in 1891 at the University of Chicago Press, when a group of experienced typesetters, proofreaders, and professors worked together to create a set of rules for manuscripts.

In 1906, the “Manual of Style: Being a compilation of the typographical rules in force at the University of Chicago Press, to which are appended specimens of type in use,” also known as the 1st edition of CMOS, was published.

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

Review the list below to find out 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 website titles. If the website doesn’t have a print version, you don’t need to stylize it. Otherwise, you should write the title in italics:

The Wall Street Journal


  1. Footnotes without “ibid.” The 16th and earlier CMOS editions required you to use “ibid” in the footnotes if you cited a source two or more times in a row. Now, you omit “ibid” and instead use the author’s last name and the page number from the source:

Thomas, 15

  1. Repeat the year for 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 can be identified by these parameters:

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

Chicago vs. Turabian: Similarities and Differences

Turabian referencing style is a modification of the Chicago Manual of Style, adapted for high school and college students. In the table below, we share the similarities and differences of these styles:





University of Chicago Press

University of Chicago Press

Documentation system

Author-Date and Notes-Bibliography

Author-Date and Notes-Bibliography



High school and college students who write research papers

Academics professionals who write research papers that will be published by a scholarly journal or professional publisher.

Requirements for grammar and word usage



Guidelines for handling foreign language sources



Book indexing information



Guidelines for mathematical expressions



Guidelines for manuscript preparations



Guidelines for writing a research paper



Website citation

Must include the date accessed

Does not require the date accessed

Journal article citation

Requires using “no. #,” for the issue number

Requires using parentheses for the issue number


Print copy, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook. No online version

Print copy, online copy via subscription

Chicago Citation Generator or Manual Referencing?

We bet you hate creating references manually. Citation generators have become a 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’re going to answer these questions and provide some recommendations on how to properly use reference makers when writing your paper.

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Why Should I Cite My Sources?

One might think that a paper full of references could show a lack of competence on the part of its author. However, that is far from the truth. A paper with ample references proves that you’ve done thorough research and have found convincing arguments to defend your subject. Let’s review why citing is important:

  • To give credit. By crediting another source, you recognize that author’s research.
  • To set up your own credibility. As we already mentioned, the references in your paper show that you’ve done thorough research on your topic. Through your citations, your readers will see that the ideas and theories you provide in your paper are solid.
  • To help your audience better understand the topic. References allow your audience to check quotes and ideas in their original context. Your reader can choose to explore the original sources to find out more about the topic.

Some students may be confused about when to use citations. According to IvyPanda experts, you need to cite your sources in all of the situations below:

  • Direct quotations from another person
  • Summary of someone else’s work
  • Graphs and charts from another author’s work
  • Facts and data, when the information is not well known
  • Websites, blogs, and online magazines
  • Your classmates’ ideas
  • Your previous papers

A small secret about citing is, when in doubt — cite!


What if you forget about citations? What are the consequences?

When you use someone else’s work or idea without citing it, you plagiarize. If you’re caught plagiarizing, you could even be excluded from your university.

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and, in most cases, violates the honor code of your college or university. When you don’t give credit to your source, you make it impossible for your readers to check the original sources for more information.

Even if you cite all your sources, you could still plagiarize. For example, when you violate style paraphrasing rules, use the wrong citation style, or include someone’s image or chart without permission or credit, it constitutes plagiarism.

7 Tips on how to use a citation generator

You should include references in the body of your paper as well as at the end. In the paper, you must use Chicago in-text citations immediately after a quote, paraphrase, or summary of another source. In the previous sections, we showed how to cite with both Chicago Notes-Bibliography and Author-Date systems.

At the end of your paper, you need to list all the sources you used while researching your paper, even if you did not cite them directly in text.

To ease the monotonous citation process, you can use reference generators. Depending on the tool you choose, you can obtain in-text citations, a single reference, or a complete bibliography page. However, you need to remember these rules, to ensure your citations are correct:

  1. Make notes during the research process. Most of the Chicago citation creators listed above allow you to create citations automatically. However, even if you enter the correct details, those generators can suggest the wrong book or article. Always note the author, title, publisher, and other details when you are doing your research to cross-check the reference when you are done.
  2. Create an in-text citation as you write. Developing the bibliography as you go will simplify the 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 choose with your preferred tool meets the instructor’s requirements.
  4. Avoid using only one source. Using multiple sources will save you 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, ask a research librarian, or consult your instructor. Also, you can always reach out to our IvyPanda experts for professional help.
  7. Don’t postpone your writing to the last night. Everyone procrastinates from time to time. However, when you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to forget about in-text citations, footnotes, or a reference list. This, in turn, will lead to plagiarism and its negative consequences.

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

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