Search Tips

In the upper-right corner of every page, you will see three ways to locate content on the site:

  • Search
  • Go to ¶
  • Go to Index

The search function automatically returns results from the complete contents of The Chicago Manual of Style and the Chicago Style Q&A (a monthly feature that offers guidance on many issues related to those treated in the Manual). If you are an individual or group subscriber with access to the My Manual features, you will also receive results from your Notes and Style Sheets and from the Users Forum. For your convenience, the search results are separated into four tabbed pages. You can review the results of your search from any one of these parts of the website by choosing the corresponding tab.

The Manual and these other components of the site are fully searchable except for certain special characters and examples that are presented as in-line graphics.

Choosing Keywords

For best results, choose your search keywords wisely. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Try the most specific term first. For example, if you are looking for information on the use of commas, enter comma rather than punctuation; the latter will return a long list of results, including many items unrelated to commas.
  • If you are searching for a general rule rather than a specific term, choose words likely to appear on the relevant page. For example, if you are trying to find out whether to capitalize the titles of government officials, search for a term such as president or governor that is likely to be shown as an example of this rule.

Refined Searches

The search function returns a list of all pages on the site that include all of your search terms, so there is no need to include and between terms.

To refine or narrow a search that has returned many results, consider the following options:

  • Add more terms to your search; this will return a smaller list of results. For example, if you need to find out when to set parentheses in italics, parentheses italics returns a more targeted list of results than parentheses alone.
  • Put quotation marks around terms that consist of multiple words so the search function will list only paragraphs including those exact strings of words. For example, if you want to find rules for citing a series editor, “series editor” returns results for this term only, while series editor returns a list of all paragraphs including both series and editor.

Word Variations

To ensure that all relevant results are returned, the search function looks for variations of the term or terms that you enter in the search box, such as plural forms of singular terms (or singular forms of plural terms). For example, a search for hyphen will find pages that contain not only hyphen but also hyphens, hyphenate, hyphenates, hyphenated, hyphenating, and hyphenation. Because of this flexibility, “wildcard” searches (such as hyphen*) are unnecessary.

Case Sensitivity

Searches are not case sensitive. For example, searches for united states navyUnited States Navy, and United STAtes nAvy will all return the same results.

Common Words

The search function allows you to search for “stopwords”—very common English words such as articles (a, an, the) or conjunctions (and, or) that are sometimes excluded by search engines. If a search for such a term returns too many irrelevant results, use alternative terms or add additional terms to narrow down the results. For example, instead of searching for the, try definite article or the in titles.

You may also be able to find the relevant paragraphs for such terms by consulting the index.

Go to ¶

If you know which paragraph of the Manual you want to access, enter the paragraph number into this box and click on the arrow (or press Enter).

Go to Index

This link will take you to a comprehensive index identical to the one published in the print edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, with clickable links to all locators. Because the index is arranged conceptually by topic, it may help you locate items you can’t find using the search functionality.