Formatting Papers in Chicago Style

The Chicago Style of writing is typically used for history papers, but this format is called Turabian Style when discussing research papers. The Chicago Manual of Style was initially published in 1891 by the University of Chicago Press to standardize revising and editing the many pieces proofreaders were given. Here’s everything you need to know about formatting in this style.

Common Formatting Advice


Paper margins can be a pain. Unfortunately, too many pupils fall into a trap when adjusting margins to adhere to a paper’s requirements. For example, instructors typically ask for a margin of one inch; however, the pre-set margin in your word processor might be 1.25 inches. So what do you do?

If you’re using Chicago style, you’ll need to ensure that your margins are the correct size. Chicago style requires one-inch margins on your paper’s top, sides, and bottom. Reformatting can get messy, but you can ask your professor for help.

Line Spacing and Paragraph Indentation

As for line spacing, your paper must be double-spaced throughout, except only block quotes, captions, and titles.

Chicago Style dictates that you use 1/2-inch indents before all paragraphs and block quotes. You might need to go into your documents settings to change the automatic size of notches when you press “tab,” but many word processors default to 1/2-inch indentations.

Footnotes Font Size,  and Page Numbers

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Place your page numbers on the right side of a page’s header.
  • Don’t place a page number on the title and cover page.
  • Your bibliography must have the final page number.
  • Use footnotes or endnotes.

Page Order

Your paper should be positioned in this order:

  • Title and cover page
  • Body pages
  • Appendices
  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography


  • Center the titles at around the midway point of your cover page.
  • When utilizing a subtitle, place it on the line underneath the title and use a colon after it.
  • Center your name on the line underneath the title, and then place your instructor’s full name, the course name, and the date. Each of these items should be on a separate.
  • Titles are not to be bolded, italicized, enlarged, underlined, placed in quotation marks, or written in any font other than Times New Roman 12 point.


  • It is best to place tables and other supporting data sets or examples at the end of a paper. Number your examples in Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.
  • Place a footnote as you refer to each appendix item and direct the reader to the proper entry, as in a footnote that reads: See Appendix 1.

Chicago Style Note Formatting

It is common for instructors to require a notes-bibliography system (footnotes or endnotes) in an essay or report and for this to be in the Chicago or Turabian style of writing. When creating these notes, keep in mind these essential general formatting considerations.

  • Formatting in footnotes differs from the formatting in your bibliographic citations, even though they will refer to the same documents or books. For instance, the footnote contains commas to separate items like author and title, and the entire note ends with a period.
  • Type notes in a single space with a total space between separate notes.
  • The bibliography entry separates items with a period. These alterations are displayed in the image above, illustrating a book citation.
  • Use a complete citation the first time you refer to a particular source; afterward, you can use an abbreviated reference, like the author’s name or a part of the title, along with a page number. You can use the ibid abbreviation if you utilize the exact reference in consecutive quotes or a reference just cited.
  • Note numbers must start with 1 and follow in arithmetical order throughout a paper unless your paper has several chapters. Then, note numbers should begin again at 1 for each chapter.
  • Never recycle a note number or use two numbers at the end of a sentence.


  • Footnotes must be placed at the end of the reference page.
  • Indent footnotes by placing a 1/2 inch margin but flushes all other lines left.
  • Footnotes may include citations for references or have your own comments. These comments can be supplementary information to explain points you’re making in your content, or they could be exciting bits of information that are crucial to include but would interrupt your paper’s flow.
  • Footnotes can also contain acknowledgments. It is common for the first footnote of a paper to be a significant entry containing a review of work related to your thesis, along with acknowledgments and thanks to supporters and co-workers.
  • You should insert a footnote number at the end of any paragraph that contains source information. You may “bundle” several citations from a section in a single footnote and place the number at the end of the paragraph.


  • Endnotes should be on a single page after the body pages.
  • Title the first page of endnotes “Notes” in 12-point font—do not embolden, underline, or italicize.


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