Chicago Formatting Guidelines | 17th Edition

The Chicago Manual of Style is primarily intended for authors of book-length works and for those publishing academic journal articles. When it comes to student essays, The Chicago Manual of Style uses the Turabian method for formatting. Kate Turabian was an educator at the University of Chicago who contributed to The Chicago Manual of Style. Her book, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, was originally published in 1937 and is currently in its ninth edition. A Manual for Writers has been updated to be compatible with the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Title Page
The main title of the paper should be centered about one-third down the page. If there is a subtitle, it should be on a separate line with a colon appearing after the main title. The title should be in the same font as the main paper, but a few points larger and in bold.

Beginning about two-thirds down the page, on separate lines, students should put their name, class, and the date. Students should consult their instructor about any additional information to add to this block.

All content on the title page should be double-spaced. The title page does not receive a page number.

For a sample title page, please visit The Chicago Manual of Style.

While the title page does not receive a page number, it still counts toward the page count. Therefore, the body of most essays will begin on page two.

Page numbers should appear at either the bottom-center or top-right and be half an inch from the edge of the page.

Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) are used.

Main Text
Font: Choose a standard font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Font size should be 12 pt. Students should consult their instructors for more specific font preferences.

Margins: Margins should be at least one inch from the edge of the page in all places (except where page numbers appear). The paper should be aligned left, and the right-hand margin should be kept ragged.

Spacing: Except for block quotes (see section below), the entire paper should be double-spaced. Only one space is necessary between sentences.

Indentations: Each new paragraph, including the first, should be indented half an inch.

Block Quotations
If a quotation is five or more lines, it should be set apart from the main text in a block quote. Block quotes begin on a new line and are indented half an inch, like the rest of the essay’s paragraphs. However, a block quote is single-spaced.

If using author-date format, a block quote should be followed by a parenthetical citation. If using footnotes or endnotes, a block quote should be followed by a superscript number. In both cases, the citation appears after the quote’s terminal punctuation. For information on citation style, please refer to our overview of the 17th edition.

Figures include any charts, graphs, maps, photographs, or similar visual media used within a paper. Remember, if an instructor has assigned a paper with a required page count, figures will usually not count toward that. Try not to clutter essays with unnecessary figures.

Figures should be placed immediately before or after the paragraph where they are first referenced.

A single-spaced caption should be inserted beneath the figure. The caption should include all necessary reference information as it would appear in a bibliography. If part of a larger work, such as a thesis, a caption should be led with a numerical indicator, such as “Figure 1.1”, which corresponds to a list of tables and figures. For more information on tables of figures, consult The Chicago Manual of Style’s website.

If using the notes and bibliography format for citations, a page of endnotes might be necessary. Usually, an endnotes page is only used for larger works like dissertations. The endnotes page is placed between the end of the essay/work and the bibliography.

The title “Notes” should be centered at the top of the page. Add two lines after the title, then begin the endnotes. If the work contains multiple chapters and the endnotes were restarted from one in each section, subheadings for each chapter/section should be incorporated.

Each endnote should be single-spaced, with a blank line between endnotes. The first line of each endnote should be indented half an inch. Use normal formatting for the endnote’s number, and follow proper citation guidelines for the content. Alternatively, the endnote’s number can be superscript, with no period or space following. If you’re unsure how to make a number superscript in Word, you can visit Microsoft’s website for a tutorial.

For a visual guideline, please visit The Chicago Manual of Style.

If using footnotes instead of endnotes, be sure that footnotes appear at the bottom of the same page where the source is first referenced. In the text, footnotes should be indicated by a superscript number on the outside of the punctuation mark, as seen here.1 If you’re unsure how to make a number superscript in Word, you can visit Microsoft’s website for a tutorial.

Separate footnotes from the rest of the essay using a short horizontal line.

Similar to endnote formatting, footnotes should be single-spaced and the first line indented half an inch. If multiple endnotes occur on the same page, they should be separated by a blank line. It is recommended to use a slightly smaller font for endnotes than in the main text.

Typically, you will be asked to create a bibliography at the end of your paper. It should list every work cited throughout your paper, and it may also include materials that you consulted but did not actually reference.

Center the heading, “Bibliography,” at the top of the page. If using endnotes, the bibliography appears after the “Notes” page. The bibliography receives a page number consistent with the rest of the work.

Entries in the bibliography are organized alphabetically by author’s last name. The first line of each entry is left-aligned, with subsequent lines receiving a half inch hanging indent. Entries in the bibliography are single-spaced with a blank line separating them.

If a work cited does not have an author, it should be alphabetized by the first word of the title (ignoring articles such as “A” or “The”.)

For two or more works by the same author, replace the author’s name in the second and any subsequent entries with a 3-em dash. Alphabetize all works by the same author by title.

For a sample bibliography, please visit The Chicago Manual of Style.

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