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Citing Sources: Formatting your paper in the Author-Date System

A guide to citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago format.

Formatting papers: Author-Date System

Papers written in Chicago Style have the following recommended features:

NOTE: Always check with your instructor about specific requirements he or she may have regarding formatting.


  • Margins should be no less than 1", no more than 1.5".
  • Font should be Times Roman or Palatino and preferably 12-pt, but no less than 10-pt.  Notes are preferably in 10-pt.
  • Double-spacing should be used throughout the paper, except for block quotations, table titles and figure captions, which should be single spaced.
    • In Microsoft Word:  Select all text > click Home tab > in Paragraph box, click Line Spacing icon > select 2.0.
  • One space (instead of two) after each period.
  • The first line of each new paragraph is indented by .5" from the left of the page, or 5 spaces.


  • A quotation of more than five lines should be blocked.
  • A block quotation does not need quotation marks.
  • Block quotations should be indented .5" from the left of the page and are single spaced.


  • For papers less than five pages, no separate title page is necessary.
  • Short papers have a heading which includes your name, instructor's name, course number, and date near the top left of the first page; double-spaced and on separate lines.  The heading is above the title.
  • For short papers, center the title.  Do not italicize, underline, or bold the title.  Do not use all capital letters for the title.
  • For long papers, use a title page with the title centered (and double spaced if more than one line) approximately 1/3 the way down the page.
  • On the title page, center your name approximately midway down the page.
  • Near the bottom of the title page, center your course number, instructor's name and date, each on separate lines and double-spaced.


  • Page numbers begin on the first page of text with the Arabic number 1.
    • In Microsoft Word, go to Insert > Page Number (in Header & Footer) > Top of page > select top right corner.
    • Double-click on the page number to insert your last name before the number.  This automatically adds it to all the pages throughout your paper.
    • If you have a title page, you will want your page numbers to start on the first page of text. Follow the instructions above, then tick "Different First Page" from the Page Number Design Page.  This will start the numbering on the first page of text, but will have it numbered as Page 2.  To make the first page of text Page 1, next select the "Page Number" option to the left of the Page Number Design tab, then select "Format Page Numbers". Specify "Start At: 0".


  • Add tables and illustrations as close as possible to the part of your paper where you discuss them.
  • Each table must have a label above the table, beginning with the table number (followed by a period) and describing the contents. (e.g. Table 1. Description of the Table Here).  It should be in the same font size of the text of the document, single spaced, may be in bold and flush left.
  • Information about the source of the table goes below the table, flush left, ending with a period (e.g. Source: Source in Chicago Style Format.). Include full bibliographical information about the table source in your Reference List.
  • Images, maps, drawings, graphs, and charts should be labeled "Figure" below the image, flush left (e.g. Figure 1. Caption and source of figure here.)  Include full bibliographical information about the item in your References List.



Example of Chicago format (short paper):


Andrew Smith

Professor Lewis

WRT 101

April 6, 2012

Cyberbullying and Its Impact on Today's Youth

        Recent events in the news have shed light on the growing seriousness of cyberbullying

for today's youth. Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of the internet, cell phones, or

any other electronic communication devices to spread harmful or embarrassing information

about someone. A 2010 report from Anglia Ruskin University notes how the impact of

cyberbullying compares to that of face-to-face bullying:

Cyber-bullying has some shared characteristics with traditional bullying such as repetition, power imbalance and intention. Cyber-bullying is also different to traditional bullying because it is anonymous, rapid, and victims cannot escape from it. When young people are involved in sending nasty text messages and emails about another young person they might not be aware of the potential harm they are causing to them, but bullying in all forms can have a negative effect on a young persons mental health. (O'Brien 2011, 9)

A study conducted over two years in Colorado on the prevalence of cyberbullying indicated

that it is less common than, face-to-face bullying. However, the impacts on victims can be

just as traumatic.

Table 1. Percentage of youth self-reporting physical and internet bullying perpetration

by grade

Source: Williams and Guerra 2007, table 2.


Sample Chicago Style Author-Date paper with title page example from Purdue OWL (PDF)