The Chicago Manual of Style

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The Chicago Manual of Style (abbreviated in writing as CMS or CMOS, or verbally as Chicago) is a style guide for American English published since 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. Its 16 editions have prescribed writing and citation styles widely used in publishing. It is considered the de facto guide for American English style, grammar, and punctuation. The CMS deals with aspects of editorial practice, from American English grammar and usage to document preparation.



What is now known as The Chicago Manual of Style was first published in 1906 under the title 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. From its earliest, 200-page edition, the CMS evolved into a reference style guide of 1,040 pages in its 16th edition. It was one of the first editorial style guides published in the United States, and is largely responsible for research methodology standardization, most specifically about citation style.

With the appearance of the 12th edition in 1969, the CMS was the leading style guide in publishing, selling some 150,000 copies. In 1982, with the publication of the 13th edition, it was officially retitled The Chicago Manual of Style, that name being the informal one already in widespread use.

More recently the publishers have released a new edition every decade or so. The 15th edition was revised to reflect the emergence of computer technology and the Internet in publishing, offering guidance for citing electronic works. Other changes included a chapter by Bryan A. Garner on American English grammar and usage, and a revised treatment of mathematical copy.[1]

In August 2010, the sixteenth edition was published simultaneously in the hardcover and online editions for the first time in the Manual's history. In a departure from the trademark red-orange cover, the 16th edition featured a robin's-egg blue dust jacket.

The sixteenth edition offers expanded recommendations for producing electronic publications, including web-based content and e-books. An updated appendix on production and digital technology demystifies the process of electronic workflow and offers a primer on the use of XML markup, and a revised glossary includes a host of terms associated with electronic as well as print publishing. The Chicago system of documentation is streamlined to achieve greater consistency between the author-date and notes-bibliography systems of citation, making both systems easier to use. In addition, updated and expanded examples address the many questions that arise when documenting online and digital sources, from the use of DOIs to citing social networking sites. Figures and tables are updated throughout the book—including a return to the Manual’s popular hyphenation table and new, selective listings of Unicode numbers for special characters.


The CMS is published in hardcover and online. The online edition includes the searchable text of the new 16th and 15th editions with features such as tools for editors, a citation guide summary, and searchable access to Q&A, where University of Chicago Press editors answer readers' style questions. An annual subscription is required for access to the content of the Manual.

The Chicago Manual of Style is used in some social science publications and most historical journals. It remains the basis for the Style Guide of the American Anthropological Association and the Style Sheet for the Organization of American Historians.

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