How to Write Academic Papers in Chicago Manual Style

How to Write Academic Papers in Chicago Manual Style


CMS or Chicago Manual Style is another important and widely used format while writing an academic paper. It follows a certain guidelines like any other essay writing format. The basic guidelines are—

  • The margin of the page should not be less than 1 inch or exceed 1.5 inch.
  • Font type should be either Times New Roman or Palatino. The size of the font should not be less than 10 pt and more than 12 pt.
  • The entire document should be double spaced.
  • Notes and bibliographies should be singled-spaced internally; however, leave an extra line space between note and bibliographic entries.
  • The page numbers should be put in the header, starting from the first page. Put the Arabic number 1.
  • For longer papers, use subheadings. While you are using subheadings, put extra lines before and after subheadings.


These are the basic guidelines for CMS writing style. But, when it comes to the main body, you need to give a lot more attention.


The Title – Title page starts at the very first page of the essay. Your title of the paper should be at the centre of the page. Give three spaces from your header. Then put your name and your class information several lines later.


Body of The Essay – Any titles mentioned in the text, notes or bibliography should be capitalized. Titles in the text as well as in notes and bibliographies are treated with quotation marks or italics based on the type of work they name. If you are putting any quotation from any book or prose then it should be inside inverted comma or quotation mark. The blocked quotes’ sentences should be single spaced but you should put start using double space immediately before and after the quotation.


Use of References—While citing references always leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” or “References” and your first entry. Between remaining entries leave one blank line. For multi author entries use “and,” not “&,” . If there are two to three authors, write all the names.  For four to ten authors, write all the names in the bibliography but only the first author’s name plus “et al.” in notes and parenthetical citations. When a source has no identifiable author, cite it by its title. Write out publishers’ names in full. Do not use access dates unless publication dates are unavailable. 


Footnotes – In case of footnotes the number should start with one followed by consecutive numbers. Note numbers are superscripted in the texts.


Headings – There are five level formats in CMS style. They are –

  • Centered, Boldface or Italic Type, Headline-style Capitalization.
  • Centered, Regular Type, Headline-style Capitalization.
  • Flush Left, Boldface or Italic Type, Headline-style Capitalization. 
  • Flush left, roman type, sentence-style capitalization.
  • Run in at beginning of paragraph (no blank line after), boldface or italic type, sentence-style capitalization, terminal period.


Table and Figures – The tables and figures should be placed right after the word illustration. Cite the source of the table and figure information with a “source line” at the bottom of the table or figure.


Citation – You can cite in four particular ways. Such as—

  • Footnote or Endnote (N): Put Contributors’ Names.
  • Corresponding Bibliographical Entry (B): Put the names as, Contributor 1 Name, Contributor 2 Name and Contributor 3 Name.
  • Author Date In-text Citation: Put Contributors’ Surnames years of publication, page or section number when available.
  • Author Date References Page Citation: Put Name, Contributor 1, Contributor 2 and Contributor 3 along with year of Publication.


So this how you can write an Academic Essay in CMS style. However, do not forget to take the advice from your instructor.

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