The two most important rules in the Bluebook are contained in one short paragraph on its first page:
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 1 (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).
If you can't find the rule for a citation, remember:
Whitepages vs. Bluepages
The main division in the Bluebooks is between the Whitepages, which provide citations for use in academic legal writing, and the Bluepages, which provide citations for use in court documents. In practice, the primary difference between the two styles is that the Bluepages use simpler type faces (no small caps!) and use in-text citations rather than footnotes.
1. Start with the Quick Reference covers.
The Quick Reference covers provide you with basic citation formats to copy, plus references to the relevant rules for more information.
2. Start with a guide.
Guides such as Understanding the Bluebook (for academic legal writing) and User's Guide to the Bluebook (for court documents) provide you with example citations, explanations, and references to the relevant rules in the Bluebook itself. For a complete list of guides, see the Guides and Tutorials tab.
3. Start with the Index.
Confused by a specific citation element or source? Look it up in the Bluebook's detailed index to find all the pages where it is discussed.
4. Start with Table T2 or T1.
T2 provides sample citations for specific foreign jurisdictions; T1 includes some sample citations for more obscure U.S. materials, such as state legislative and administrative materials.