I have an assignment which requires me to use CMS formatting, double spaced, in 12pt font. I'd rather avoid using the much inferior "Word" or "Writer" programs -- in particular I like how LaTeX inserts line breaks and such.

However, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to force LaTeX to produce such a document. Is there a document class floating around which would allow the production of such a document using LaTeX?

3 Answers 3


The memoir class has a sane approach to describing the organisation of documents, with all the right parts for front matter, back matter, and markup of main matter, and perhaps more importantly, the manual is truly excellent, and will give guidance on how to realise your document. If you use {memoir}, as I strongly recommend,Chicago raises a number of smaller issues and one big issue (all quotes from Chicago #15: I have not yet got to grips with #16):

  1. Chicago is a pretty liberal style, that is full of suggestions and descriptions of alternatives about layout, but fewer rules about typography. For instance, Chicago allows chapters to begin on either verso or recto, saying only that "The first chapter ordinarily begins on a recto" only to qualify that with an exception. But lots of people have the idea that Chicago wants chapters always to begin on recto... Look at the details about typography from a Windows style seller, How Seminary Style Differs from Chicago/Turabian Style: it is nearly all without foundation in Chicago. So, do find out whether the "Chicago" requirement actually means something more specific.
  2. Latex doesn't have a good workflow for bibliographies, I have concluded after many years of frustration. You can't use established Bibtex styles to conform to Chicago's guidance on how to set out the reference list, because of deep problems with how references are represented in Bibtex, and I have no confidence that Biblatex makes more than cosmetic improvements to this. My recommendation is to choose a Bibtex style and bibliographic citation package that gets the following right: the citation keys of the form (Authorlist1, date1; ...) (which will be what you need in most cases). and puts the authors, date, title and publication venue in that order; {natbib} or Harvard will do for this, with {natbib} supporting more flexible citations. Then generate the .bbl file, cut and paste it in place of the \bibliography command, and edit the entries one by one so that they actually conform to Chicago. I said something a bit similar in my How to APA 6th answer.
  3. Chicago does have things to say about punctuation and spacing around punctuation, which is your job to follow. Word has nice macro packages to check for possible problems; Latex, AFAIK, does not. Using \frenchspacing makes strict correctness a little easier.
  • Ha! It's a 4.25 page paper -- nothing ending up requiring multiple chapters. (Side note, I had to look up what "recto" and "verso" meant :( ) +1 Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 15:39
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    biblatex-chicago is a very rigorous implementation of CMS guidelines. Where does it fail for you? (Also, if there is a real bug, the author of the package [not me] would like it reported!)
    – jon
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 18:20

For the chicago part, you could use natbib with the chicago option and/or the chicago, achicago or similar packages. If you'd rather use BibLaTeX instead of BibTeX, there's biblatex-chicago.

For the 12pt font and double spacing you could set that up with geometry and setspace, or use something like philosophy.sty.

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    …Or even the wordlike package :) Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 7:27
  • @Will: Someone should put together a workflow for converting Word documents to Latex documents that produce exactly the same PDF output... Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 10:02
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    @Charles: Why on earth would you want to do that? Half the point of using LaTeX is it's better word wrapping algorithms, which are going to change if you're using something like word as the source material. Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 15:33
  • @Billy: It's a joke. Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 15:40
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    @CharlesStewart Sadly, not a joke at all. Indeed, philosophy.sty exists because some places ask for a document which 'looks as if it was created in Word'. I've been asked for that. I used philosophy.sty (an enhanced version of braindead.sty). If only it were a joke...
    – cfr
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 3:06

For an assignment (such as a research paper), try the turabian-formatting package. It provides "Chicago-style formatting based on Kate L. Turabian's 'A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers' (8th edition)."

The turabian-researchpaper document class, included as part of the turabian-formatting package, will produce a research paper that has "CMS formatting" and is "double spaced, in 12pt font."

Example LaTeX code that implements the turabian-researchpaper document class:




\title{The Title of Your Work}
\author{Your Name}

   The content of your paper.

To produce appropriately-formatted citations, you will also want to use the biblatex-chicago package (as also noted above).

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    Thanks for the new answer and welcome to TeX.SX!! Would you mind editing in a minimal example of use? Right now, this answer doesn't have a whole lot of information. :) Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 2:57
  • Thanks for the welcome Sean. I hope this edited answer provides more useful information.
    – Omar
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:10

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