Here are some basics for setting up a Chicago-style class paper following the guidelines in Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. (In the 9th edition, you will find them at section A.1 in the appendix called “Paper Format and Submission” at the back of the book.)
For a complete set of one-page tip sheets on setting up your paper, go to Turabian.org.
Important: Always ask your instructor if there are any special requirements in place of or in addition to Chicago’s formatting recommendations.
Page size and margins
Microsoft Word allows you to choose the size and margins of your paper from drop-down menus in the Page Layout section.
♦ Normal paper size in the United States is 8½ × 11 inches.
♦ The margins should be 1 inch on all sides. If you need extra space for binding on one side, leave an extra half inch on the left side.
♦ To add page numbers, find the Page Number option in your word processor. (In MS Word, it’s in the Insert menu.) The top right side is a traditional location for page numbers.
♦ If you want the first page or title page to have no page numbers, click Different First Page.
♦ If you have a title page and want the second page to be page 1, find Format Page Numbers, and in the box next to “Start at,” enter a zero.
♦ Choose a single font that is readable and widely available, such as Times New Roman (12-point size is good) or Arial. (Arial 10 point is about the same size as Times New Roman 12 point.)
Spacing and indentation
♦ Double-space the main text.
♦ Single-space figure captions and table titles.
♦ Single-space the following, but add a blank line before and after each item in them:
- the table of contents
- footnotes or endnotes
- bibliographies or reference lists
♦ Block quotations: Single-space the block and indent the entire block one-half inch on its left side. Leave a blank line before and after the block. Do not add quotation marks at the beginning or end, but keep any quotation marks that appear in the original. Example:
This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. “This is a quote in the block quotation.” This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation. This is a block quotation.
♦ Put only one space between sentences, not two.
♦ Indent new paragraphs one-half inch. (Use a tab or a ribbon indent rather than hitting the Space bar.)
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#ChicagoStyle for Students
Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is a smaller version of The Chicago Manual of Style written specifically for students. Now available in its new 9th edition.
Not sure which book to use?
Read more here.
Top photo: © Jorge Royan, Technical Drafting Tools: Pantograph, Rulers, Compass, Calculator and Other Paraphernalia, Technology Museum, Berlin, Germany, May 2007.