How Do I Format the Main Text in Turabian/Chicago Style?

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Here’s how to format the main text of a Chicago-style paper following the guidelines in Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. (See sections A.1.2 and A.1.3 in the appendix called “Paper Format and Submission.”)

  • Choose a single, readable, and widely available font such as ten-point Arial or twelve-point Times New Roman for the body of the text.
  • Indent the first line of each new paragraph half an inch. (Use tabs or indents rather than spaces.)
  • Double-space.*
  • Leave the right margin “ragged.”
  • Put only one space, not two, between sentences.

For more details, see the sample page below and sections A.1.2 and A.1.3 of Turabian.

*Some departments or universities allow or require single spacing or one and a half spaces between lines in the body of the text. Check your local guidelines.

Sample Main Text Page

Thumbnail of Turabian tip sheet 6 (Main Text)

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

Turabian Tip Sheets

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.

  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

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Image of book cover of Turabian's Manual for Writers#ChicagoStyle for Students
Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, written specifically for students, covers every aspect of research paper writing, from thinking up a topic to submitting the paper in official Chicago format. Turabian’s guidelines are compatible with The Chicago Manual of Style.

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