Chicago Style Format Complete Guide

By now, you must know that for each academic essay or paper you write, your college or university may have strict rules about the style of references you must use. The Chicago style guide is one of the most popular referencing styles. But if you have a difficulties with dissertation you can apply Write My Dissertation services.

What Is Referencing?

To remind you, referencing is what you do after using information from another source in your work. References credit the author and the work you got the information from.

For instance, if you state a fact or an idea that has been proven, you need to say where you got this information. Every page or line of text in your work where you need to give a reference is called a citation, and many different styles of citations are used worldwide.

What Is The Chicago Style?

The Chicago Style is a set of rules for formatting, citing, and referencing works written in American English and published in journals of history or social sciences.

The University of Chicago Press made the book, and the first edition came out in 1906. Many students, especially those who study Social Sciences, use the Chicago Style Format. 

When you know how to use the right referencing style format, you can take on any academic writing task with confidence and skill. Journals in the social sciences and history often use the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).

History Of The Chicago Style Format

The History Of The Chicago Style Format

For instance, if Appendix B handiest includes a figure, the figure must be labeled “Appendix B” as adversarial to “Figure B1”, because it might be named if there has been more than one figure included.

If an appendix now no longer consists of textual content but includes several figures or desks, the appendix would be needed to be formatted like a text appendix. The appendix must benefit a name and label, and everyone determines or desk may also moreover take delivery of a corresponding letter and range. For instance, if Appendix C includes tables and one determine those visuals may be labeled “Table C1”, “Table C2”, and “Figure C1” respectively.

Citing Systems Of The Chicago Manual of Style

The Notes-Bibliography System and the Author-Notes System are two styles from the Chicago Manual of Style. The first is often used in Arts, Literature, and History, while the second is mostly used in Social Sciences. Let’s talk more about these two systems for citing sources:


  1. For the Notes-Bibliography method, you need to put numbered footnotes in the text and citations at the bottom of each page. The full citations are then put on a separate page at the end of the document called the “Bibliography.” This is the most common way for documents in the humanities to give credit to their sources.
  2. On the other hand, the Author-Date System requires writers to put citations in parentheses after quotes or other information they took from another source. In the parentheses, you should put the last name of the source’s author, the year it was published, and the page number where you can find the information you used.

At the end of the paper, there should be a page called “References” with a list of all the sources you used. The Author-Date System is used for papers in the sciences and social sciences, while the Notes-Bibliography method is used for papers in the humanities.


NOTE: The Chicago format is similar to a style guide called Turabian. It is a way of citing and referencing that is based on the Chicago style. This style is called “Turabian” after the person who came up with it, Kate Turabian from the University of Chicago.

Most of the time, this style is used for papers in the social sciences, like Economics. We shall talk about the difference between the Chicago and Turabian styles.

The Difference Between The Chicago and Turabian Style Formats

Kate Turabian made some changes to the Chicago style so that students and researchers could use it. So, the main difference is that the Turabian style is easier to use, shorter, and has fewer rules. In particular, it doesn’t tell you how to get your work published because, unlike the Chicago style, which is made for professionals who want to publish their work, the Turabian style was made to help students write papers and essays.

Still, most of the rules for a Chicago-style paper would also apply to a Turabian-style paper, so this article will help you write in both styles.


What are the main parts of a paper written in the Chicago style? Both the Chicago and Turabian styles suggest that the author should divide his document into three parts: the Title Page (cover page), the Main Body, and the Bibliography.

How To Write In The Chicago Style Format

The Chicago Style Format is very clear and straightforward regarding text formatting, citations, and quotes. Here are the main rules for Chicago style:

  • Use a font that is easy to read. It’s best to use Times New Roman or Courier in 12pt.
  • Except within block quotes, table titles, notes, captions and bibliography/references, all other text/pages should be double-spaced. 
  • Pages should have 1″ margins. 
  • There should be no space between paragraphs.
  • You can put page numbers on the right side of the page or in the middle of the bottom of the page.
  • Don’t number the page with the title. (i.e the title page/cover page). Your essay’s first page of the main body should be numbered ‘1’.
  • Paraphrased or quoted passages must have footnotes in the Chicago style if you used the Bibliography System.

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Chicago Style Format

Formatting In The Chicago Style

Chicago-style papers always have a lot of different parts, like a title page, headings, quotes, footnotes, endnotes, and so on. You should use the newest version of the Chicago/Turabian style manual to organize and format every part of the paper.

In this part of our guide, we’ll take a closer look at each part of this style and explain the main rules and tips for formatting it correctly.

Title Page

The title/cover page is the first page of a written work that lists the title, subtitle, author, and other important information. In simple terms, it is the beginning of your paper. You must follow certain rules to structure and format this page according to the Chicago or Turabian style guide.

  • The paper’s title should appear in the middle of the page and one-third below the top. If it’s longer than one line, you must put two spaces between each word.
  • After the title, insert your full name(in the middle of the page as well).
  • At the bottom of the page, write your course number, your teacher’s name, and the date. These should be on separate lines with two spaces between them.
  • All of the text on the title page must be double-spaced and centered. There shouldn’t be a page number on the title page.

Main Body Text

The main body is the largest and most important part of any school paper. That’s where the author should explain the topic, list the main points, and back up his claims with good arguments and proof. More so, the Chicago style formatting guide says that this part of your text needs to be put together in a certain way. Our experts, who can write your assignments for you, have put together a list of the general rules and suggestions that apply to the main body of the text: 

  • All titles in the paper, notes, and bibliography should be written with capital letters like in a headline.
  • Depending on the source type, you should write titles in the paper, the notes, and the bibliography in italics or quotation marks.
  • Italicize all the names of big volumes of works, like magazines, books, long poems, and plays.
  • Most times, the names of most poems (except the long ones) are put between two quotation marks:
  • All titles of short works, like articles or chapters, are put in quotation marks.
  • Regarding titles that don’t fit into any of the above categories, the Chicago style format says to use as few capital letters as possible. So, make sure to only use uppercase letters when you need to.
  • Also, don’t use italics or quotation marks when they aren’t needed. You should use the right format for quotes based on how long they are. All quotes with five or more lines must use the blockquote style. We’ll look at this point in more depth later in this guide.
Chicago Style Format scaled


In the Chicago Style Format, the capitalization for headings should be like a headline. You might use different levels of headings and subheadings in your work, and it’s important to make each one clear. You can do this by placing all subheadings on a new line. The format should be the same for all headings at the same level.

For instance, you might use a big font for the heading of a chapter, a bold font for the heading of a section, and italics for a subheading. The style manual suggests a maximum of three levels of hierarchy which the font styles or other formatting should distinguish.

Block Quotes

You can use block quotes if you want to put in a quote with five lines or more (or over a hundred words) or a poem with two lines or more.

When using block quotes, there are no quotation marks. Use a blank, new line to separate the top and bottom of a block quote from the text around it. There is also an extra half-inch space on each side of block quotes, and it would help if you indented them with a word processing tool. They are not double-spaced like the rest of the text. Instead, they are single-spaced.

Numbers and Abbreviations

Regarding numbers, it is vital to follow specific rules defined in the style manual. In particular, the style guide suggests using words instead of numerals for all numbers under 100. For example: Use “twenty-three” instead of “23” The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when you are talking about a certain measurement. Then, you should use numerals instead of words. For example: Use “47 pounds” instead of “forty-seven pounds”. 

When you use an acronym for the first time in your text, you must explain what it stands for according to the Chicago style. For example: According to the ASO (Administrative Services Organization), etc.

The other times the word is used in the text don’t need to be explained. So, once you explain what an acronym stands for the first time you use it in a text, you can just use the acronym by itself from then on. 

Numbers and acronyms can’t be written at the beginning of a sentence. It is suggested that these kinds of sentences be rewritten so that numbers and acronyms show up somewhere else, like this:

  • Instead of “400 workers provided data for the study,”

write “The study collected data from 400 workers.”


  • Instead of “ASO has some research-based groups,”

write, “Many research-based groups grew out of the ASO organization.”


Or, you can start a sentence with a number or acronym if you write out the full number of the full phrase:

 “Three hundred sixty workers provided data for the study.” “Administrative Services Organization has several research-based groups.”

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are often used in papers written in the Chicago/Turabian style. They are used to give references or to comment on the part of the text where they are used.

Endnotes are used at the end of the work(mostly long texts with lots of citations), while footnotes are at the bottom of the page. Most scholarly works use footnotes because they are easy to use for quick referencing and can also be used to add extra bits of information that aren’t necessary but might be interesting to the reader.

Students often choose footnotes over long, hard-to-understand bibliography pages because footnotes have more information. The main rules for endnotes and footnotes are: 

  • Most of the time, they are used for talking about other works in the text. i.e. referencing.
  • Put a number in parentheses after a quote or paraphrase to give credit to a source.
  • You should put the numbers for citations in order.
  • Each number should match a reference, a footnote, or an endnote.
  • You should put on endnotes a page called “endnotes.” It should have a title. It should come before the page with the list of sources.
  • Footnotes in the Chicago style must be at the bottom of the page where they are used.


Most papers written in the Chicago style end with a bibliography, which is a list of all the sources used to write the paper, including those mentioned in the footnotes.

    • Bibliographies in the Chicago style should be called “Bibliography” at the top center of the page.
    • They should have their entries in order of the alphabet.
  •  They should include all the works that were cited in the paper and any other relevant sources.

 Bibliographies and reference lists don’t need to be double-spaced, but there should be a blank line between each entry.

In-Text Citations

The Chicago Manual of Style says that authors can use either the notes and bibliography or the author-date style to cite their work.

The author-date style means that you put all of your references right in the text, in parentheses. As the name suggests, this style requires you to say who wrote the source and when it was published when you refer to it in the text. There are a few ways to use these kinds of references in a paper:

According to Name (Year),

In the book “Book name” (Name Year),

The notes and bibliography style is another way to cite your paper. With this style, authors have to put a number next to each reference in the text and give a citation for each number in either the footnotes or the endnotes. The numbers should go at the end of a sentence or clause that includes information from an outside source, after any punctuation mark other than a dash.

FAQ about Chicago Style Formatting

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Is It Double Spaced In The Chicago Style?

 It is. According to the Chicago style, most of the text should always be double-spaced. However, there are some exceptions to this. Aside from notes, block quotes, bibliography entries, figure captions, and table titles, authors should always use double spacing.

How Do You Add Page Numbers In The Chicago Format?

Following the style guide, you should number the pages in Arabic numerals starting with the number two on the first page after the title page.

Pages such as the cover page and table of contents are numbered with lowercase roman numerals(e.g. i, ii, iii). In contrast, in-text pages, including glossary and indexes, are numbered in Arabic numerals. (e.g 1,2,3)

Page numbers are usually written in the top right corner of the page, one inch from the side and one inch from the top.

Is There a Title Page In Chicago Style Format?

Yes, there should be a title page at the start of every paper in this format. On the title page, the title of your work should be in the middle, and then your full name should be in the middle as well.

At the bottom of the title page, you should also write your course number, instructor name, and date. Each of these should be on a separate line and be double-spaced.

Should Page Numbers Appear At The Top Or The Bottom?

The most common way to put numbers on a page is in the upper right corner. But you can also find page numbers in the middle of the page’s bottom. No matter what numbering method you choose, the most important thing is to keep the page numbers in the same place throughout the paper.

What’s The Newest Edition Of The Chicago Manual Of Style?

The newest edition of the Chicago Style Manual, the 17th, came out in 2017. This manual has a full guide to the right way to format a Chicago paper. It has the most up-to-date requirements, suggestions, and rules about style, organization, structure, and format.

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