Project Mapping Technician Cody J. Guidry explains how to create profile elevations in AutoCAD.
"This is a great method for drawing profiles if you are using standard AutoCAD, but if you have Land Desktop (LDT) or Civil 3D (C3D), you can use this tip also. It looks like a lengthy process, but it is actually pretty quick.
"This is for all of the civil and survey drafters who have to draw plans and profiles on a daily basis. We all know how much of a pain it can be, especially if we have vanilla AutoCAD or if we wish to not make a surface in LDT or C3D for a small area. With a little help from the ds.LSP routine (see Cadalyst Tip 2181), Excel, and Notepad, we can do this fairly easily.
"First you will need to know a couple of things: What is your station along your alignment? What is your elevation at that station? Think of these as your x and y coordinates for profile purposes only. Your station will be your x, and your elevation will be your y.
"Open Excel and start inputting your numbers. This is where ds.LSP comes in handy. Load it and click on your polyline, which I assume is your alignment. It will give you a station; input it into your first column (use a whole number with no plusses). Find your elevation at that point, and input it into the second column. Go to the next station and repeat this process until you are finished.
"Now save your Excel file in comma delimited format (CSV) and close the file. Right-click on the file and open it in Notepad; everything should be separated by commas. Select all of the text, right-click, and select Copy. Go back to AutoCAD and perform a Polyline command. Paste the text you just copied into the Command line. After it's done, press Enter twice. Your profile will start wherever your starting station and elevation are. Remember x and y? If you want to properly place it in your grid, draw a line at 0,0 and ortho project it to the end of your profile. Now move your linework to your grid. (Note: Your grid must be at 1:1 for this to work.)
"This is where Paste as Block comes in handy. Now that you have your profile in your grid, select all of it, right-click, and select Copy with Base Point. Select a point on the grid, right-click, and select Paste as Block. Place it where you need to. Your profile and grid are now a block. Select the blocked profile, open your Properties box, go to the Geometry section, and look at Scale Y. This is where you change the vertical exaggeration. Once you get it to where you need it, explode the block and pretty it up. If you ever need to reduce the vertical exaggeration, just do the same thing except inverse the Scale Y. (Side note: If you have LDT or C3D, you can do a Station Offset report and just take out the plusses on the stationing, keep the elevations, and get rid of everything else.)"
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: This tip may seem overwhelming at first; just take it one step at a time. There are several steps and tools in this tip that can make creating a profile view (of the center of a road, for example) easier. A profile view of a road has a linear distance along its center called stations. The ds.LSP routine from Cadalyst Tip 2181 will help you determine that station. The station is simply the distance along the line.
You don't need Excel to create the CSV file, but it can make the process easier. Open Notepad and enter in the station and elevation of each location in x,y format; each line will have its own x and y value. Once you have typed in all this data, copy it, open AutoCAD, start the Polyline command, pick your starting point, and paste the x,y values. AutoCAD will draw the polyline to those coordinates. You can also manually type in the x,y values at this point instead of creating a file to copy/paste. Once the polyline is drawn, you can do whatever you want with it. Typically, profile views are drawn with an exaggerated y-axis. That is done to better visualize the changes in elevation, especially when there is little change. Copy the linework and paste as a block (press Ctrl+Shift+V). Once the linework is a block, you can change its y scale by any factor you need, thus exaggerating the y-axis.