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Chicago Manual of Style - South Bend-Elkhart: Paper Format

Chicago Style Template

Below is a template to start you out on the correct formatting for your CMS paper.

Always find out whether your instructor has specific requirements when you are writing a paper. Basic elements of a paper using Chicago Style are as follows:

  • A title page that contains:
    • the title of your paper
    • your name
    • the class, the professor, and the date.
  • Body of the paper.
  • Footnotes on pages where references occur OR an Endnotes page on a new page after the body of the paper.
  • A bibliography.

YouTube Video

This video shows you how to format your paper in the Chicago Manual Style (CMS) of formatting in Word 2007 or 2010.

Chicago Manual Style with Word 2013

What is the Notes/Bibliography System?

Requirements of the Notes and Bibliography style:

  1. Insert a number calling attention to each location in your paper that references a source, usually located at the end of the sentence that discusses or quotes the source. Format this number as superscript (above the line, like the number one that follows this¹).
  2. For each numbered reference in your text, type a corresponding note in your paper. You may use footnotes (a numbered list of citations at the bottom of the page on which the reference appears) or an endnotes page (one page after the body of the paper that lists all of the references in the entire paper).  
  3. An alphabetized bibliography containing a full citation for each reference. Citations in a bibliography are formatted differently than citations in notes. The information in this LibGuide should help you to understand the differences.
    NOTE: When arranging bibliography entries in alphabetical order, use the first element of the citation, usually the author's last name. For some, the first element is the title. When using a title to determine order of a citation, ignore initial articles in the title (A, The). Also note that CMS prefers letter-by-letter alphabetization, so "Williamsen, Seth" comes before "Williams, John" in the Bibliography. For more information about alphabetizing bibliography entries, refer to the CMS or contact an LCCC Librarian for assistance with CMS rules.

Full notes or shortened notes? There are two reasons you might use shortened notes:

  1. When a bibliography is required, your professor might indicate that you may use shortened citations for all notes.
  2. When a bibligoraphy is not required, your professor might indicate that you may use a full citation in a note when referring to a source for the first time. If you refer to a source more than once, you may use a shortened citation for the subsequent notes. The short form of a note should always include the author(s) last name(s), the title (shortened if it exceeds four words), and the page(s) to which you are referring.

Margins, Spacing, Etc

Margins, Indents

  • Leave uniform margins of at least 1 inch (2.54 cm.) at the top, bottom, left and right of every page.
  • Indent all paragraphs in the body of the paper 1/2".
  • Indent notes (footnotes or endnotes) 1/2".
  • Use a hanging indent of 1/2" for Bibliography entries.
  • Block indent long quotations 1/2".


  • Double-space the body of the paper.
  • Double-space block quotes.
  • Single-space each note (whether using endnotes or footnotes) and bibliography, but double-space between each entry.

Fonts: CMS does not specify a particular font. We suggest you use a readable serif font, like Times New Roman, 12 pt.