Chicago Style Page Formatting: How to Write a Chicago Style Paper

The Chicago style is a bibliographic style that defines a set of typographic rules used by several American publishers. It is updated by the University of Chicago Press and is currently in its seventeenth edition.

What is the Chicago style?

In general terms it is a writing format for academic texts, to which writers and researchers adhere, in order to format their documents, essays or research reports in such a way as to facilitate the diffusion of the texts among the scientific community, maintain quality standards and finally, avoid accusations of plagiarism.

General rules of the Chicago style

  • Type font – Times New Roman is suggested because it provides greater reading comfort.
  • Font size – 12 pt is appropriate.
  • Spacing – Double spacing should be maintained to facilitate correction, although in publications it is modified by 1.5.
  • Margins – Margins are 3 centimeters, in other words, which are adjusted by default in Word.
  • Bleeding – Is 1.25 cm in the initial line of the paragraph.
  • Numbering – Applies to the document from the first page and goes to the bottom right margin.
  • Header – Applies to the first page, is located in the upper left corner and in this case includes: the name of the author, the subject and a date of delivery in bold.
  • Title – It is centered and bold.
  • Subtitles – They are applied bold and aligned to the left.
  • Quotations – In cases where they are long quotations of three lines or more, a bleed of 2 cm is used for the entire paragraph.
  • Footnotes – It is important that all footnotes are placed in the footer and never go to the end. Times New Roman should be used in the same way as the rest of the document, but in this case with a size of 10 pt.
  • Paragraph spacing – No double spacing between paragraphs, but it must be done before a subtitle.
  • Other matters – It is very important not to include ornaments, covers or frames.

How to quote in the Chicago style?

Below, all the possibilities are exposed when making an appointment in the Chicago style , so that the correct format is applied and possible accusations of plagiarism are avoided.

  1. How to make a textual appointment in Chicago style?

The text that is cited can be displayed as part of the text in quotation marks, “in this way”, or separated from the text in a paragraph that is separate. Remember that quotes that are separated from the text in a separate paragraph will not include quotes. To distinguish them, a greater indentation is applied in relation to the left margin of 2 cm .

To make the decision whether it is cited in the text or separated, the decisive element is the length of the quotation , where two complete lines in the text, three or more should be separate .

  1. Notes and bibliography in the Chicago style

In the case of the humanities, the bibliographic references will be included in the footnote, which will be complemented by the bibliography. The notes will be listed and will correspond to the calls that are made in their inclusion in the text. Actually, word processors like Word, will facilitate this work automatically.

  • Bibliographic reference notes – The names and surnames of the author or authors will be cited in a normal order, title of the work, editorial data and page numbers if applicable.
  • Bibliography – Contains the same information as the footnotes, but here the author’s data will be inverted, so first the surname and then the name. In a work with two or more authors it is going to invest only the name that is mentioned in the first place.
  1. Source references in the Chicago style bibliography

When listing all the material used to write the text, what is done is to prepare a bibliography that goes to the end of the document. Each of the references will be arranged in alphabetical order according to the surname of the authors. If a reference has more than one line, it is necessary to apply a 1 cm indentation from the second one.

  1. How to cite a magazine article in Chicago style?

These are quotations in which it is necessary to include the volume number and the delivery. With respect to the number of the volume, in round, followed by the name of the magazine in italics. No punctuation is added between the two elements. For the complete citation, page numbers do go, which are preceded by two dots.

  1. How to cite Chicago-style audiovisual material?

In relation to normally recorded documentation, it is necessary to include the following elements, or at least part of them: the name of the composer, writer, performer or other class of primary responsibility for that content, its title in italics (may also be in quotation marks), name of the record company or publisher, identification number of the recording, indication of the medium (audiovisual file, cassette, compact disc), and a copyright date of that production or performance.

As for the recordings consulted, it is necessary to provide a URL or DOI. It is also possible to provide additional information such as a number of discs contained in the album, for example.

  1. How to cite electronic sources in Chicago style?

When citing electronic sources that are consulted via the Internet, it is necessary that the address be included, which is described as URL or DOI. This is an element that is added at the end of the reference, which in general terms has the elements that are usual in a citation.

If it is a printed work, the address could be divided at the end of the line. It is also not necessary to clarify the date of consultation of that electronic source, although there are publishers and journals that require it.

  1. How to cite Chicago style e-books?

In most cases, electronic books will have a printed equivalent. In any case, it is possible that there are differences and we want to clarify it by highlighting that one format was consulted instead of another. That indication is going to be in last place. When the book is consulted online, the Internet address must be indicated.

Chicago Style Recommendations for Written Works

There are computer programs that automate bibliographic references, but there is always a wide variety of sources cited in an academic work, which prevents an acceptable result from being obtained with the intervention of the program alone. Automatic verification is always recommended.

  • Titles and subtitles will only have a capital initial for the first word and proper names, unless they are in a foreign language and another spelling rule applies.
  • Primary titles, such as a journal or book, will be written in italics.
  • Secondary titles such as articles or chapters, in unpublished works, will be presented in round and quotation marks.
  • If the place of publication is unknown, the abbreviations s.l. or s/l are used.
  • If the date of publication is unknown, the abbreviations n.f. or n.d. are used.
  • If the publisher is unknown, only the place and date will be registered.
  • For the bibliography, articles, chapters or sections, the beginning and end pages of the text in question will be given.
  • In the case of electronic sources, only the pages will be indicated if it is pertinent to do so.
  • If a work is referred to without pagination, the chapter number or paragraph, or if there is one, the title of the section, can be noted.
  • The number in the footnote must be at the end of a submission. It is usual for the number to follow a textual quotation, regardless of whether it appears in the body or apart. As for punctuation, the number follows any sign.


To use the Chicago style correctly, you must know which grammar rules to follow, how to cite and place the bibliography and how to place the appropriate format for your work. To quote properly according to the Chicago style, you must use footnotes to cite sources within the text and also list the sources in a bibliography at the end of the writing. As with other citation styles, you must have a specific order when formatting your appointments, depending on what type of source you are quoting.


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