Dr Abel Scribe PhD

Chicago Style: CMS Basic PDF

The Chicago Manual of Style website advises the "CMS is primarily a reference for manuscripts that will be published as books. For a master's thesis [and similar papers], you would find Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers . . . much more useful."

The current (2013) eighth edition of of Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers: Chicago Style for Student & Researchers is the best yet. What started as a "booklet of guidelines" applying Chicago style to dissertations at the University of Chicago has evolved into a 448 page text. About a third is a beginner's guide to the process of doing research scholarship. The remainder is about 60% devoted to documentation—citations and references—and 40% to style, rules for abbreviations, numbers, quotations, and so on.

CMS Basic seeks to abstract the essential features of the style. The first section covers text rules, things that might catch the eye of someone familiar with the style, such as when to write out numbers and when to use numerals. The second section features page layout. The third and forth, documentation in endnote-footnote and bibliography styles. The PDF version has been abridged from the guide online to highlight the most essential features.

CMS Basic Table of Contents


1.0 Text Rules Chicago Style
  • 1.1 Abbreviations/Acronyms
  • 1.2 Capitalization (Titles)
  • 1.3 Compound Words
  • 1.4 Emphasis (Italics/Quotes)
  • 1.5 Numbers & Dates
2.0 Page Layout
  • 2.1 Title & Text Pages
  • 2.2 Headings & Lists
  • 2.3 Quotations
  • 2.4 Tables & Figures
3.0 Endnotes/Footnotes
  • 3.1 Page Layout
  • 3.2 Books & References
  • 3.3 Articles in Periodicals
  • 3.4 Documents & Reports
4.0 Bibliographies
  • 4.1 Page Layout
  • 4.2 Books & References
  • 4.3 Articles in Periodicals
  • 4.4 Documents & Reports

CMS Basic: Online & PDF

Major sections have been left out; editing has cut a little from everywhere. Substitutions have replaced some material. The goal is to produce a document that is manageable to print with the fewest pages while still covering the essential features of Chicago style for research papers. The PDF version has been whittled to twelve pages by making the following changes:

  • Title Page. The title page has been shortened; view the page online to see how it all fits together.
  • Compound Words. This section has been left out. Any basic guide to using the English language will serve as well, Chicago style does nothing special. It is useful to know some basic rules.
  • Tables & Figures. These pages take a lot of space for things not too common in many research papers, perhaps with the exception of tables. These require a very simple format; don't use elaborate formats available to your word processor. Note how the captions are styled. These are replicated with other figures in CMS Basic.
  • Endnotes & Footnotes. There are 38 sample references in the online version, 30 in the PDF version. Most of the categories have been retained. The section on formatting inclusive numbers for notes has been cut.
  • Bibliography. The online version mirrors the endnote/footnote pages; 38 sample references. The PDF version has just 25 with some categories eliminated (e.g., newspapers). he section on formatting inclusive numbers for notes has been cut.
The Turabian manual is devilishly difficult to work with when simply trying to format a note or reference. It is written more as a set of instructions than as a quick guide or reference. They seem to be aware of this.

If you cannot find an example in this chapter [17], consult chapter 14 of The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (2010) [the chapter is 132 pages long!]. You may also create your own style, adapted from the principles and examples given here. Most instructors, departments, and universities accept such adaptations as long as you use them consistently (Turabian 2013, 166).

Download CMS Basic PDF

Download CMS Basic PDF. CMS Basic follows the APA standard of Fair Use (the Turabian manual is silent). "Policy permits authors to use . . . a maximum of three figures or tables from a journal article or book chapter, single text extracts of fewer than 400 words, or a series of text extracts that total fewer than 800 words without requesting formal permission" (APA, 2009, 173).

You are welcome to print, link, or distribute CMS Basic for not-for-profit educational purposes including classroom instruction. No additional permission is required. This website is revised on an irregular basis, pages and documents may vanish. Consider linking or bookmarking the top level domain, www.docstyles.com, (go to: http://www.docstyles.com/index.html) rather than a specific page.