How Do I Format a Contents Page in Turabian/Chicago Style?

Here’s how to set up a Chicago-style table of contents page following the guidelines in Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. (See section A.2.1.7 in the appendix called “Paper Format and Submission.”)

  • Label the first page Contents at the top of the page.
  • Leave two blank lines between the title and the first item listed.
  • Single-space individual items listed, but add a blank line after each item.
  • List in order the parts, chapters, or other units of the text, and then the elements of the back matter.
  • Between the lists for the front and back matter and the chapters, or between parts, leave two blank lines. Two blank lines can also intervene between an introduction and the first chapter or between the last chapter and a conclusion. 
  • Give page numbers only for the first page of each listed item.
  • Chapter titles appear flush left, with page numbers flush right.

For more details, see the sample contents page below and section A.2.1.7 of Turabian.

Sample Contents Page

IMPORTANT: Your instructor’s requirements may overrule Chicago’s formatting recommendations! 

The Turabian tip sheets illustrate everything you need to know for formatting a student paper in Chicago style. They are fully compatible with The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). You can print them and download them for free! Also at www.turabian.org.

  1. Margins and Page Numbers
  2. Title Page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. List of Tables and Figures
  5. Introduction or Conclusion
  6. Main Text
  7. Sections and Subheads
  8. Chapter Opening Page
  9. Figure and Figure Caption
  10. Bibliography
  11. Endnotes
  12. Footnotes
  13. Parenthetical Citations
  14. Reference List

Important note for students: Always ask your instructor if there are any special requirements in place of or in addition to Chicago’s formatting recommendations.


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