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        How to Format a Chicago-Style Paper

        • calenderSep 12, 2019
        • calender 5 min read

        If you’re writing history papers, you’ll most likely be asked to adhere to the Chicago style, also referred to as Turabian style when referring to research papers. 

        In the previous articles, we had a look at the APA style and MLA style rules of formatting. In this article, we take a look at another major style guide: The Chicago Style.

        We’ll take a look at all the sections of a typical Chicago Style paper and discuss its format and constituents. Let’s get to! 

        Overall page layout 

        – One inch margins on sides, top, and bottom. 

        – No fancy font. It’s best you stick to Times New Roman 12 pt font. 

        – Double-space the text of the paper. 

        – Use a half-inch indent for paragraph beginnings, block quotes and hanging (bibliography) indents. 

        – Begin numbering the pages from the first page on the text in the top right corner of the paper. 

        – You could also add your last name before the page number and make it a running head. 

        – Ask your instructor or refer to the guide to check if it’s okay to print two-sided. 


        Cover page 

        – Center the title of your paper right in the middle of the page. 

        – Type out your full name under the title. 

        – Your teacher’s name, the course title, and date should be written in three lines and centered at the bottom of the page. 

        – Stick to the standard font and size: 12pt Times New Roman. Please do not try to make your cover page decorative by using bold, underline, italics or creative fonts. 

        – No page number on the cover page.


        Contents Page

        – Place the title “Contents” at the top of the page in the center. 

        – The contents page should have the following sections: Acknowledgments, Introduction, Chapters, Conclusion, and Bibliography. Leave two blank lines before you begin a new section. 

        – Leave two blank lines between the title and the first item. 

        – Place page numbers flush right, with leader dots if you wish. 

        – One blank line between each chapter.


        Names and numbers 

        – Use full names of people and institutions when you introduce them. For institutions, you can include the acronym in parentheses after the full name when first used, e.g. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

        – After the first time use, feel free to refer to people by their last name and institutions by their acronyms for the rest of the paper. 

        – Write out numbers lower than 100. (“The early committee only has four members…”) 


        Main text 

        – Indent the first line of each new paragraph half an inch. 

        – Leave the right margin ragged. 

        – Quotations of five or more lines should be intended as a block.

        – Single space block quotations, and apply a left indent of half an inch. 

        – Leave a blank line before and after the block and at least two blank lines before a subhead. 

        – Put one space between sentences, not two.


        Figures and figure caption

        – Place a figure either immediately after the paragraph that first mentions it (on the same page or the next) or just before the first mention. 

        – Place the caption right under the figure. Use regular text or smaller for the caption. 

        – Add at least one blank line between the caption and any text below it.


        Footnotes and endnotes 

        – Add footnotes at the bottom of the page where the reference occurs; endnotes go on a seperate page after the body of the paper. Both use the same formatting guidelines. 

        – Within the essay text: add the note number at the end of the sentence where the reference occurs. 

        – The note number goes after all the punctuations. 

        – Use Arabic numerals (1,2,3) only. Roman numerals are not permitted (i, ii, iii).

        – Put the word Notes (not Endnotes) at the top of the endnotes page. Use Times New Roman 10 pt font. 

        – Single space each entry; double space between entries. 

        – Indent the first line of each note. 

        – Try to include a shortened form examples of sources you refer to more than once.



        – Allot a separate page for your bibliography with “Bibliography” centered at the top of the page in Times New Roman 12 pt font. Do not use bold or large size font for the heading. 

        – Use a “hanging incident” – the first line of the citation begins at the margin, subsequent lines are to be intended.

        That’s all you gotta take care of while finishing up your Chicago-style paper! If you have any difficulties in editing or formatting your document, you can always consult our experts at PaperTrue.

        Happy writing!






        Manish is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, and the Founder of PaperTrue. His vision is to make impeccable English communication possible for everybody, so they can write effectively and gain the academic and professional success they deserve.

        One comment on “How to Format a Chicago-Style Paper

        1. Lydia Simmons says:

          This is so well-researched and thorough! Thanks for writing!

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