Profile Drafter 5.0
Profile drawing program

User's Manual


1.1 Program purpose. PRO 5.0 allows Autocad users to draw civil engineering street and utility profiles in Autocad by entering station and elevation at the command line.

Optionally, the program will allow the input of offsets, slopes, and labels to be plotted on the profile.

1.2 Program Input options. The program has a command line input option and a data file input option. Command line input can be saved to a data file as it is entered.

1.3 What's new in version 5.0? PRO 5.0 adds the capability to draw catch basins as well as manholes and can draw both broken. PRO 5.0 also adds the capability to draw labeled, aligned dimensions. For data file input, PRO 5.0 uses the standard station, offset, elevation, slope, and label fields plus one extra field between slope and label. The extra field allows the plotting of broken manholes and catch basins. It also provides a place other than the label to put ellipse size for pipe crossings. The extra field features are available only by using data file input. A file conversion utility -- PROFC -- is provided with PRO 5.0 to convert groups of data files that were made for other versions or to change the data field width for groups of files.


2.1 Overall appearance. PRO draws profiles to look like a compromise combination of several typical profiles. Suggestions for style changes will be gladly considered.

2.2 Size. For profile annotation and feature scaling, the program uses the current Autocad drawing text style, dimscale value, and dimtxt value. This follows the convention of the other standard custom commands.

2.3 Numeric precision. The program uses the current linear units precision for all numeric values except slopes, which are given to the nearest 0.001% unless the Precision option is used (see section 4.4).

2.4 Layers. By default, the program draws on layers with a "PPRO-" prefix. Layer names, colors, and linetypes can be changed by editing the LAYERS.DAT file.


Start the program by typing PRO at the Autocad command prompt.

2.1 The first time the program runs in a drawing session, certain setup tasks must be performed before the profile can be drawn. A reference point for the profile and the profile type must be specified. The vertical exaggeration must be set if it is different than the default of ten. Because the profile can't be drawn until the initial setup is done, the following setup options are displayed until a reference point and profile type have been set.

Reference point/profile Type/Vertical exaggeration/New profile/File:

Type R to set the reference point. The following prompts are displayed:

Pick a reference point: Select any convenient point with known station and elevation.

Enter reference point station as a real no.: Enter the station of the reference point (eg. 1200).

Enter reference point elevation: Enter the elevation of the reference point (eg. 1264 or 64). (see section 4.1 for more information)

Type T to set the profile type (see section 4.2 for more information). When finished, type [Enter] to exit the setup options and start plotting points.

2.2 After the first time the program is run in the current drawing session, points may be plotted without additional setup.


When the program has been set up, the following prompt is displayed:


The default response to this prompt is the station to be plotted (eg. 6732.54). This prompt also gives the options of first entering a label to be plotted on the profile or returning to the setup options. Keying [Enter] at this point exits the program.

Once a station has been entered, the following prompt is displayed:


The default response to this prompt is the elevation to be plotted (eg. 1234.5). This prompt also gives the option of first entering an offset to be plotted on the profile. Keying [Enter] at this point returns to the station prompt.


To change the program setup after the profile has been initially set up, type S at the following prompt:


The following prompt is displayed:

Ref. point/prof. Type/Vert. exag./Precision/New prof./File:

4.1 The Reference point option changes the location of the profile. First pick a point using osnaps or enter a point from the keyboard. Then enter the station and elevation of that point.

4.2 The profile Type option displays the following profile Type options:

Mesa/Gutter/PAvement/PIpe/Line only/POints only:

The Mesa option draws a curb and gutter profile with elevations labeled on a 45 degree leader. The Gutter option draws a fully annotated curb and gutter profile with gutter elevation input. The PAvement option draws a fully annotated single pavement profile. The PIpe option draws a fully annotated pipe profile of a specified type. The Line only option plots a non-annotated single line profile on the P-LINE layer. The POints only option either plots annotated utility crossing ellipses (by interpreting a provided Label input) or simply plots circles on the DEFPOINTS layer (they do not plot) at the specified stations and elevations.

4.3 The Vertical exaggeration option changes the ratio of the horizontal scale to the vertical scale. The default is 10 (eg. 1"=20' horiz. and 1"=2' vert. or 1"=40' horiz. and 1"=4' vert.) Calculate the vertical exaggeration as horiz. scale divided by vert. scale.

4.4 The Precision option allows the user to change the labeling precision of Station, Offset, Elevation, or Slope text from the defaults (see section 2.2).

4.5 The New profile option tells the program not to connect the next point to the last point. In other words, it keeps the program from connecting two separate profiles with a meaningless line and slope. Exiting the program also causes a new profile to be started.

4.5 The File option is discussed in section six, Using Data Files.

Key [Enter] to exit the setup options and plot more points.


Exit the program by keying [Enter] at the following prompts:

Reference point/profile Type/Vertical exaggeration/New profile/File: <Station>/Label/Setup:


In the Setup options (see section 4), selecting File displays the following prompt:

Read from file/Save to file:

6.1 The Read from file option reads profile information from a text file with a .PRO extension. A file selection dialogue box is displayed. After selecting a file to read from, key [Enter] to exit setup and begin plotting from the file.

Note that any profile setup information in the data file will override any profile setup done from the console (keyboard/digitizer). On the other hand, if there is no setup information in the data file, setup information must be entered before starting to read from the file.

6.2 The Save to file option saves all subsequent console input to a data file for later reading or editing. The following prompt is displayed.

Create new file/Append existing file:

The Append option adds more data to a file which was started previously. Since ending PRO ends input to a file, the Append option is useful for continuing a file you didn't mean to finish.

See the Documented Pro Data File for detailed information about the format of data files.