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Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

The University of Chicago Press prefers manuscripts submitted in electronic form in Microsoft Word. We can also work with files prepared in LaTeX (please consult your acquiring editor for special instructions if you plan to submit LaTeX files). The advantage of electronic manuscripts is that they can be edited and prepared for publication without having to retype anything. Please keep in mind, however, that a design for your book will be created by our design staff, and the final edited files will be converted to a typesetting program from which the page proofs will be created. So please keep it simple—if you spend a lot of time using your software to format your manuscript and customize the way it looks, we, in turn, must spend time paring your manuscript back to its basic elements to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly.

Please use the following guidelines to ensure that the electronic manuscript and printouts you submit to us will be ready to edit without further ado. Contact your editor if you have any questions!

Submission Checklist

The manuscript is complete.

Anything you plan to have in your book must be submitted at this time, including all art. All manuscripts must include a title page, a table of contents, and the full text. Additional material might include dedication, epigraph, list of illustrations, captions, appendixes, glossaries, acknowledgments, etc. If you have included any text or art by permission, you must include sources and any credit language required by the grantor. (For complete information on credits, see Author’s Permission Guidelines.)

The manuscript files are properly organized and delivered.

Combine and submit all text material, excluding captions, as a single Microsoft Word file. Submit captions as a list in a separate Word file. Submit tables individually, as separate Word files. All files should be delivered as email attachments or, if over 10MB, through a link to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox or a file-transfer platform like WeTransfer.

Figures are in their final, publishable state and are called out in the text.

Submit figures individually, as separate files, not embedded within the text. Figures must be extremely legible and look exactly as you want them to appear in print. The press does not redraw line art, graphs, or other artwork. In the text, place an angle-bracketed “callout” (<Figure 1.1 about here>) on a separate line immediately after the paragraph where the figure is first mentioned. Place figure source/credit information at the end of the caption. For complete information on art preparation and submission, see Art Preparation Guidelines.

Tables are true tables (not tabbed text) and are called out in the text.

Create tables using Word’s table function or cut and paste them from Excel into a blank Word document. Submit tables individually, as separate Word files. In the text, place an angle-bracketed “callout” (<Table 1.1 about here>) on a separate line immediately after the paragraph where the table is first mentioned. Place table source/credit information as text below the table.

Tables and figures are correctly numbered.

Double-number tables and figures by chapter (figure 1.1, 1.2, etc.; table 1.1, 1.2, etc.). Single-number color plates intended for a gallery (plate 1, plate 2, etc.). Table/figure/plate numbers must correspond exactly, in number and form, to the figure callouts in the manuscript.

All note callouts are linked to their corresponding notes.

Create notes using Microsoft Word’s notes function only, such that the superscript note callouts in the text are linked to their corresponding notes. Files with unlinked notes will be rejected.

The text formatting is minimal and clear.

The sole purpose of text formatting at the manuscript submission stage is to identify and clearly distinguish specific text elements such as headings and extracts. The interior of your book will be professionally designed at a later stage.

  • Extracts (block quotations): Left-indent all extracts. For prose extracts, use a hard return only at the end of a paragraph; for poetry or lists, use a hard return at the end of each line. 
  • Subheads and text breaks: Subhead levels must be clearly differentiated. For example, if the size of your paragraph text is 12 pt, we recommend setting first-level headings at 18 pt bold, second-level headings at 16 pt bold, and third-level headings at 14 pt bold. For a text break without a subhead, type “<line space>” on a line by itself. Any additional formatting (excluding italic) will be stripped during initial file processing.
  • Notes: See the Documentation Guidelines.

Documentation Guidlines

We strongly prefer Chicago Style for documentation. Its use will significantly reduce time spent in copyediting. In any case, your documentation must be complete, intelligible, and consistent, and must adhere to the following basic requirements.

Use either “notes” method or “author-date” method.

In “notes” citation method, documentation information appears in endnotes or footnotes, supplemented by a bibliography. (If you plan to forgo a bibliography in the book itself, you should still submit one with your manuscript for reference during copyediting.)

In “author-date” citation method, sources are identified parenthetically in the main text (by author last name and publication year only) and must be accompanied by a reference list that includes all sources cited.

Use one or the other of these methods, without switching back and forth or blending them. N.B. Editors of contributed volumes with documentation methods or styles that are consistent within chapters but not across chapters should check with their acquisitions editor before imposing a single method or style across the volume.

Insert notes with correct numbering.

Insert notes using Word’s “Footnote and Endnote” feature without changing any of the preset options. Never renumber notes by typing over the autogenerated numbers.

Provide complete citations.

“Notes” method. For any cited source not included in the bibliography, or for all cited sources in a manuscript that does not have a bibliography, provide a full citation in the notes the first time that work is cited. Thereafter, shortened citations may be used to refer to that work.

"Author-date” method. Include each source cited in the text in your reference list. Conversely, include in the reference list only sources that are cited in the text. If you want to offer a wider reading list, create a separate list titled as such (e.g., “Further Reading”).

Proofread notes and bibliography/reference list carefully.

Each citation must include all necessary information. Look especially closely at names, non-English titles, and dates. Confirm that URLs are accurate.

Create a citation style sheet if necessary.

If your citations depart from Chicago style, or if some of your citations have unusual elements, compile examples in a separate file to help the editorial staff understand your intent.

Abstracts and Keywords for Online Discoverability

The publishing world is now a “mixed model” environment in which the printed book is joined by other technologies that lead readers to scholarly content. In line with this trend, the University of Chicago Press is working with library e-book vendors and other partners to make book content more widely available and easier to access for faculty and students.

In order to enable the text of your book to be fully searchable alongside other online content—a crucial feature in ensuring its discoverability—we need you to create an abstract and to identify keywords for the full text of your book as well as abstracts and keywords for each chapter. By creating these, you will ensure that the contents of your book are represented as you think best and most appropriate. This information may well be the primary means by which students, academics, and researchers are led to your content in its digital forms.

Abstracts and Keywords are input online through our Abstract and Keyword Portal. You will receive an email giving you access to this Portal once your book has been transmitted.


The book abstract should provide a clear idea of the main arguments and conclusions of your book, while chapter abstracts should give an overview of the content of each chapter, including the introduction and conclusion. The book abstract may be no more than 250 words, and chapter abstracts may be no more than 200 words. Where possible, you should adopt an impersonal voice rather than using personal pronouns: “This chapter discusses...” rather than: “In this chapter, I discuss…

Abstracts cannot be more than one paragraph in length and cannot contain the following:

  • lists of any kind;
  • tables;
  • footnotes or endnotes;
  • graphics; or
  • boxed material.

Only the following special formatting is allowed:

  • italics;
  • bold;
  • small caps; or
  • superscript/subscript.


Please suggest 5–10 keywords for the book as well as 5-10 keywords for each chapter, including the introduction and conclusion. The keywords will enable the full text of the book to be searchable online. Keywords are equivalent to terms in an index in a printed work and distinguish the most important ideas, names, and concepts in the book.

  • Each keyword should be kept short, one word where possible (though two- and three-word specialist terms are also acceptable where necessary);
  • A keyword should not be too generalized;
  • A keyword cannot contain punctuation of any sort (i.e., no commas, periods, colons, semi-colons, etc.);
  • Keywords should not be too generalized;
  • Each keyword should appear in the accompanying abstract;
  • A keyword can be drawn from the book or chapter title, as long as it also appears in the text of the related abstract;
  • A keyword must be all lower case except for proper nouns;
  • A keyword for names should be presented as “John Smith” rather than “Smith, John”; and
  • No special formatting (e.g., italics, bold, superscript text, etc.).

Before submitting your abstracts and keywords, please consult the following checklist:

  • Are abstracts and keywords provided for the book and all chapters (including those without numbers)?
  • Is each abstract a single paragraph and does not contain lists, footnotes, images, boxed material, or tables?
  • Do the book title and author’s name match the main text exactly?
  • Do chapter titles (and chapter authors, where appropriate) match the main text exactly?
  • Are at least 3 keywords provided and no more than 10 keywords?
  • Is each keyword short (one word where possible, two or three word specialized terms where necessary)?
  • Are keywords lower case, except for proper nouns?
  • Do keywords contain special formatting?
  • Do keywords use punctuation (e.g., inverted commas or quotation marks)?

Expanded Guidelines for Edited Volumes

Checklist for final submission of edited volumes


Contributor contact information

  • Using the template provided, create a contact information list of all contributors and volume editors (mailing and e-mail addresses, phone numbers), arranged alphabetically or by chapter.
  • The accuracy of this list is very important, as it will be used by the Press throughout the publication process to (1) send publication agreements to contributors, (2) contact contributors during editing, and (3) deliver chapter pdfs and copies of the book to contributors upon publication.
  • The Press uses FedEx for all correspondence that cannot be delivered electronically. FedEx will not deliver to PO Boxes, so it’s imperative that contact information include full street addresses for each contributor, not just department names. Phone numbers are necessary because they are required by FedEx, and provide an alternative mode of communication for the manuscript editor.

List of contributors

  • Create a list of contributors to be published in the back matter of the book, which includes names, departments/affiliations, cities/states, and countries but not full street addresses, e-mail addresses, or phone numbers (example below). Be sure to list this item in your table of contents.
  • John Smith
    Department of Biochemistry
    The University of Chicago
    Chicago, IL 60637


All elements of your book should be consistent throughout in content and format

  • Please refer to the more detailed information about formatting found above under Manuscript Preparation Guidelines.
  • All the elements in your manuscript should be easy to identify. Save each chapter as a separate file. Each additional part of your manuscript—front matter, introduction, references, appendixes, figures, etc.—should also be saved as separate files. Chapters or similar divisions should be named “ch-01,” “ch-02,” and so forth (or something similar) so that they appear in correct order if there are more than nine.
  • Remove all chapter abstracts and contact information from individual chapters.
  • Include acknowledgments at the end of each chapter, if appropriate.
  • Ensure that in-text citations have corresponding entries in the references. Each chapter should either have its own reference list or all references should be merged at the back of the book.
  • Make sure chapter appendixes are double numbered (e.g., “Appendix 1.1,” “Appendix 5.1”) and appear in the table of contents.

Boxes/sidebars, tables, and figures

  • All elements should be double numbered by chapter—“Figure 1.1,” “Box 1.1,” “Table 1.1,” etc.—and chapters should include bracketed callouts to indicate their placement in the text. Callouts should appear on a separate line in the manuscript between paragraphs (e.g., “[Insert fig. 1.1 here]”; “[Insert table 1.1. here]”).
  • Tables and boxes/sidebars should be submitted as separate, individual text files, removed from the main text and clearly labeled (e.g., “Table 1.1.doc,” “Box 1.1.doc”). These elements are typically typeset by design.
  • Likewise, figures should be submitted as separate files, clearly named according to Chicago’s file-naming conventions, with the lead volume editor’s last name (e.g., “Smith_ch1_001.tif,” “Smith_ch5_001.pdf”). Art should not be embedded in the text.
  • If any figures are to appear in tables or boxes, they should be numbered alphabetically (e.g., “Figure A,” “Figure B,” “Figure C”) and the files should be named as such (e.g., “Smith_table1.1_A.tif,” “Smith_box1.1_A.pdf”).
  • All art must be print-ready (free of typos and of sufficient line weight and resolution). See our Art Preparation Guidelines and Art Submission Requirements for more information.
  • With rare exception (as discussed with your editor), art will be reproduced in black and white. The Press will convert any color photos to grayscale, but all line art should be black and white, with judicious use of gray tones. Ensure that any mention of color in the captions is edited appropriately to accommodate black-and-white reproduction.
  • All figure captions should be merged into one Word file and should include the date of origin of each figure, if known. Any credit language in the captions should be accompanied by the appropriate permissions documentation (see our Permission Guidelines for more information). Captions should not appear in the main text or as part of your figures.

Delivering the final manuscript

  • Contributors should confirm prior to submission of the final manuscript that their chapter is the correct version to be edited. Volume editors should collect index entries from each contributor to use in preparing the index.
  • Submit each chapter as a separate file. No two pages of your manuscript should have the same number, and no page should be submitted unnumbered. Number the pages according to section (e.g., “chap. 1, p. 57”). All files should be named and numbered clearly, in the order they will appear in print.
  • Boxes/sidebars, tables, figures, and captions should be saved as separate Word documents.
  • Submit all illustrations as separate files, not embedded within the text. The image file name (as described above) and date should correspond to the text callout. (See our Art Preparation Guidelines for more information.)
  • Submit all final manuscript files to your editor via email.

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