For students, using the “Chicago style” usually means putting notes and bibliographies in the formats set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) or Kate Turabian’s Writers Manual. For advanced students and professional writers, it can also mean following Chicago’s rules for capitalization and punctuation, for creating tables and writing legends or lists, and for managing almost any other aspect of writing almost any type of document.

What is the difference with the Turabian style?

Turabian has been the gold standard for generations of undergraduate and graduate students in virtually every academic discipline. Smaller and easier to use than the Chicago Manual of Style, it focuses on the entire process of writing a paper, guiding the reader in finding and researching a topic, planning, writing, subpoenaing sources, and any other steps on the way to the successful completion of a classwork. , a thesis or dissertation.

For professional writers and editors, the Chicago Handbook is much more than a citation guide. His advice covers the entire writing and publishing process, including grammar and punctuation, preparing images and tables and indexes, permissions, etc. CMOS has been around for over a hundred years and is used by colleges, universities and businesses around the world.

The citation styles of both books are almost identical; the small differences reflect the fact that most students’ papers are not intended for publication.

General CMOS format

CMOS does not require a specific type or font size, but recommends using something simple and readable (for example, 12-point Times New Roman). Use margins of at least 1 inch on all sides of the page.

The main text should double-space, and each new paragraph should begin with an indentation of 1/2 inch. The text must be left-aligned and not “justified” (meaning the right margin must appear irregular).

Page numbers can be placed at the top right or bottom center of the page; one or the other, not both.

Unlike many citation styles, CMOS offers writers two different methods for documenting sources: the Author-Date system and the Notes-Bibliography (NB) system. As your name suggests, the Author-Date system uses parentic quotations in the text to refer to the last name of the author of the source and the year of publication. Each parentic citation corresponds to an entry on the References page that concludes the document. In this sense, Author-Date is very similar, for example, to the APA style.

Instead, NB uses footnotes in the text to direct the reader to a shortened citation at the end of the page. This corresponds to a more complete citation on a Bibliography page that concludes the document. Although the general principles of citation are the same, the citations themselves have a different format than the one in Author-Date.

General CMOS Guidelines

  • The text should always go in double space, except for block citations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles and figure captions.
  • For bulk citations, which are also called excerpts:
  • Prose quotes of five or more lines, or more than 100 words, should be blocked.
  • CMOS recommends blocking two or more lines of poetry.
  • A blocked appointment is not enclosed in quotation marks.
  • A blocked appointment should always start on a new line.
  • Blocked citations must be indented with the word processor’s indentation tool.
  • Page numbers begin in the header of the first page of the text with the Arabic numeral 1.
  • Subtitles should be used in longer jobs.

CMOS recommends that you design your own format, but use consistency as a guide.

Complementary Rules of the Turabian Style

There are some complementary rules of the Turabian Style that complement the CMOS. Below we detail them:

  • Margins should not be less than 1″.
  • The font must be readable, such as Times New Roman or Courier.
  • The font size should not be less than 10 pt. (preferably 12 pt.).

Main Sections of the Document

Title Page
  • Depending on the Turabian style, classwork will either include a title page or include the title on the first page of the text. In case your instructor or context requires a title page, use the following guidelines:
    • The title should be centered one-third of the page.
    • Your name, class information, and date should follow several lines later.
    • For subtitles, end the title line with a colon and place the subtitle on the line below the title.
    • A double space on each line of the title page.
  • Different practices apply to theses and dissertations (see A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, ad Dissertations [8ª ed.] by Kate L. Turabian).
Main Body
  • Titles that are mentioned in text, notes, or bibliography are capitalized, which means that the first words of titles and subtitles and any subsequent important words must be capitalized.
  • Titles in the text, as well as in notes and bibliographies, are treated in quotation marks or italics depending on the type of work they name.
  • On the other hand, the titles of books and periodicals (titles of longer works) should be in italics.
  • The titles of articles and chapters (shorter work titles) must be enclosed in double quotation marks.
  • The titles of most poems should be enclosed in double quotation marks, but the titles of very long poems should be in italics.
  • As for the titles of plays should be in italics.
  • Otherwise, take a minimalist approach to capitalization. For example, use lowercase letters to describe periods, except in the case of proper names (for example, “the colonial period” versus “the Victorian era”).
  • A prose quote of five or more lines should be “blocked”. The block quotation must match the surrounding text and does not carry quotation marks. To separate the bulk citation from the surrounding text, use the word processor indentation tool. It is also possible to move the quotation en bloc using a different or smaller font than the surrounding text.
In The Flowers of Freedom: Reformulation of Political Thought, Rose eloquently summarizes her argument in the following quote:

In a society of control, a policy of conduct is in the fabric of one’s own existence, in the organization of space, time, visibility, communication circuits. And these involve every individual life, every decision and action -about work [sic], purchases, debts, credits, lifestyle, sexual contracts and the like, in a web of incitements, rewards, current sanctions and omens, of future sanctions that serve to force citizens to maintain certain types of control over their conduct. These sets that suppose the securitization of identity are not unified, but dispersed, they are not hierarchical but rhizomatic, not totalized but connected in a network of relays and relationships. (246)

Bibliographic references 
  • Label the first page of your subsequent subject, your full list of sources, as “Bibliography” (for the Notes and Bibliography style) or “References” (for the Author-Date style).
  • Leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” or “References” and your first entry.
  • Leave a blank line between the other entries.
  • List the entries in alphabetical order letter by letter according to the first word of each entry, either the name of the author or the title of the work.
  • Use “y”, not an ampersand, “&”, for entries by multiple authors.
  • For two or three authors, type all names.
  • From four to ten authors, write all names in the bibliography, but only the name of the first author plus “et al.” in the notes and parenting citations.
  • When a source does not have an identifiable author, cite it by its title, both on the reference page and in abbreviated form (up to four keywords from that title) in the parenting citations throughout the text.
  • Write the names of the editors in their entirety.
  • Do not use access dates unless publication dates are not available.
  • If you cannot find out the date of publication of a printed work, use the abbreviation “n.d.”.
  • Provide DOIs instead of URLs whenever possible.
  • If a DOI is not available, provide a URL.
  • If you can’t name a specific page number when prompted, you have other options: section (sec.), equation (eq.), volume (vol.), or note (n.).
Online Article:
    1. Sarah Palmer, “How to Do Basically Anything,” Journal of Historical Initiatives 17 (2013): 133,
    2. Palmer, “Basically Anything,” 134.
    1. Rebecca Cox, The College Fear Factor (Harvard University Press, 2009), 17.
    2. Cox, Fear Factor, 28.
Online Newspaper:
    1. Ramos Tobin, “UPS Profit Nearly Doubles in Second Quarter,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 22, 2010,
    2. Tobin, “UPS Profit.”
Web page:
    1. “Police and Detectives,” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed on September 3, 2015,
    2. “Police and Detectives.”
More than one Author:

Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. Cain, Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 80-83.

Edited Work:

Susan Leigh Star, “Craft vs. Commodity, Mess vs. Transcendence: How the Right Tool For the Job Became the Wrong One in the case of Taxidermy and Natural History” in Adela. E. Clarke and Joan H. Fujimura, The Right Tools for the Job: At Work in the Twentieth-Century Life Sciences (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 257-286.

Chapter of a Book:

James H Johnson, “Opera as Social Duty,” in Listening in Paris: A Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 15.

Primary source of a reference book:

Ho Chi Minh, “Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1945)” in Voices of Decolonization: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Todd Shepard (Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s Press, 2015), 49-52.

Online primary source:

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis (1819; repr., London: R.Carlisle, 2015), 37, PP7.

What to do when bibliographic information is lacking
  • Missing author: Cite by title
  • If date is missing: Use n.a. instead of date
  • Missing editor: Use n.p. instead of publisher
  • If the place of publication is missing: Use n.l. instead of the place
  • Note numbers should start with “1” and continue consecutively throughout a job.
  • In the text:
    • The note numbers are in superscript.
    • The numbers in the notes must be placed at the end of the clause or phrase to which they refer and must be placed after all punctuation marks except the hyphen.
  • In the footnotes:
    • Note numbers are placed in full size, without embossing, and are followed by a period (it is also acceptable to place the note numbers in superscript on the notes themselves).
    • The lines within a footnote should be formed flush with the left. Place the comment after the source documentation when a footnote contains both; separate the comment and documentation with a period.
    • In parenthing, separate the documentation from the brief comment with a semicolon.
    • Do not repeat the hundreds in a range of pages if it does not change from the beginning to the end of the range.

Although the Chicago Manual of Style does not include a prescribed system for formatting titles and subtitles, it makes several recommendations.

  • Maintain consistency and parallel structure in titles and subtitles.
  • Use the header style for uppercase.
  • Subtitles should start on a new line.
  • Subtitles can be distinguished by font size.
  • Ensure that each level of hierarchy is clear and consistent.
  • Subtitle levels can be differentiated by letter style, use of bold or italics, and location on the page, usually centered or left.
  • Do not use more than three levels of hierarchy.
  • Avoid ending subtitles with periods.
  • Turabian has an optional five-level header system.
Turabian Subtitles Plan
    • Centered, bold or italicized, capitalized in the style of headlines
    • Centering, normal type, header capitalization
    • Left-aligned, bold or italic, with capital letters in the header
    • Left-aligned, Roman-like, phrase capitalization
    • At the beginning of the paragraph (no blank line after), bold or italic, sentence capitalization, end period.
Tables and Figures
    • Place the tables and figures as soon as possible after they are first referenced. If necessary, list them after the paragraph in which they are described.
    • For figures, include a legend, or a brief explanation of the figure or illustration, directly after the figure number.
    • Cite the source of the table information and the figure with a “line of credit” at the bottom of the table or figure and, if applicable, after the caption. The line of credit must be distinguished from the legend by being enclosed in parentheses or written in a different type.
    • Cite the source as you would a parenth citation, and include the full information in an entry on your Bibliography or References page.
    • Properly mention the reproduced or adapted sources (i.e. photo of; data adapted from; map of…).
    • In CMOS style if a table includes data not acquired by the author of the text, include an unnumbered footnote. Enter the note with the word Font(s) followed by a colon, then include the full font information and end the note with a period.

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Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) Standards

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) Standards. Photo: Unsplash. Credits: Jeremy McKnight @jeremymcknight

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