Research & Documentation Online 5th Edition

Chicago manuscript format

The following guidelines for formatting a Chicago-style paper and preparing its endnotes and bibliography are based on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). For a sample Chicago paper, click here.


Formatting the paper

Chicago manuscript guidelines are fairly generic because they were not created with a specific type of writing in mind.

Materials and font Use good-quality 8″ 11″ white paper. Avoid a font that is unusual or hard to read.

Title page Include the full title of your paper, your name, the course title, the instructor’s name, and the date. Click here for a sample title page.

Pagination Using arabic numerals, number the pages in the upper right corner. Do not number the title page but count it in the manuscript numbering; that is, the first page of the text will be numbered 2. Depending on your instructor’s preference, you may also use a short title or your last name before the page numbers to help identify pages.

Margins and line spacing Leave margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of the page. Double-space the body of the paper, including long quotations that have been set off from the text. (For line spacing in notes and the bibliography, click here.) Left-align the text.

Capitalization and italics In titles of works, capitalize all words except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (at, from, between, and so on), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet), and to and as — unless one of these words is first or last in the title or subtitle. Follow these guidelines in your paper even if the title is styled differently in the source.

Lowercase the first word following a colon even if the word begins a complete sentence. When the colon introduces a series of sentences or questions, capitalize all sentences in the series, including the first.

Italicize the titles of books and other long works. Use quotation marks around the titles of periodical articles, short stories, poems, and other short works.

Long quotations You can choose to set off a long quotation of five to ten typed lines by indenting the entire quotation one-half inch from the left margin. (You should always set off quotations of ten or more lines.) Double-space the quotation; do not use quotation marks. (See pp. 3 and 5 in the sample paper for a long quotation in the text of a paper.)

Visuals Chicago classifies visuals as tables and illustrations (illustrations, or figures, include drawings, photographs, maps, and charts). Keep visuals as simple as possible.

Label each table with an arabic numeral (Table 1, Table 2, and so on) and provide a clear title that identifies the table’s subject. The label and the title should appear on separate lines above the table, flush left. Below the table, give its source in a note like this one:


Source: Edna Bonacich and Richard P. Appelbaum, Behind the Label (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 145.

For each figure, place a label and a caption below the figure, flush left. The label and caption need not appear on separate lines. The word “Figure” may be abbreviated to “Fig.”

In the text of your paper, discuss the most significant features of each visual. Place visuals as close as possible to the sentences that relate to them unless your instructor prefers that visuals appear in an appendix.

URLs (Web addresses)When a URL must break across lines, do not insert a hyphen or break at a hyphen if the URL contains one. Instead, break the URL after a colon or a double slash or before any other mark of punctuation. If your word processing program automatically turns URLs into links (by underlining them and changing the color), turn off this feature.

Headings Chicago does not provide guidelines for the use of headings in student papers. If you would like to insert headings in a long essay or research paper, check first with your instructor. See the sample paper for typical placement and formatting of headings.

Preparing the endnotes

Begin the endnotes on a new page at the end of the paper. Center the title Notes about one inch from the top of the page, and number the pages consecutively with the rest of the manuscript. Click here for an example.

Indenting and numbering Indent the first line of each note one-half inch from the left margin; do not indent additional lines in the note. Begin the note with the arabic numeral that corresponds to the number in the text. Put a period after the number.

Line spacing Single-space each note and double-space between notes (unless your instructor prefers double-spacing throughout).

Preparing the bibliography

Typically, the notes in Chicago-style papers are followed by a bibliography, an alphabetically arranged list of all the works cited or consulted. Center the title Bibliography about one inch from the top of the page. Number bibliography pages consecutively with the rest of the paper. Click here for a sample bibliography.

Alphabetizing the list Alphabetize the bibliography by the last names of the authors (or editors); when a work has no author or editor, alphabetize it by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.

If your list includes two or more works by the same author, use six hyphens instead of the author’s name in all entries after the first. Arrange the entries alphabetically by title.

Indenting and line spacing Begin each entry at the left margin, and indent any additional lines one-half inch. Single-space each entry and double-space between entries (unless your instructor prefers double-spacing throughout).