The first edition of profil came out as a monthly on 7 September 1970. Starting in October 1972, it was published every two weeks and from January 1974 every week. In 2001 profil became part of the publishing company NEWS. The magazine is sometimes considered the Austrian counterpart to Der Spiegel. In 1975 business magazine, ecco, merged with profil.
Christian Rainer has been publisher and editor-in-chief since 1998 when he succeeded Josef Votzi in the post. The chief editorial staff consists of Sven Gächter, Stefan Janny, and Herbert Lackner.
Investigative journalist Hubertus Czernin served as the political editor of profil. He uncovered the story about Kurt Waldheim's Nazi connection.
The circulation of profil was 72,000 copies in 1985. In 1993, the magazine had a circulation of more than 100,000 copies.
The weekly had a circulation of 76,000 copies in 2003 and 78,000 copies in the first quarter of 2004. In 2006, the magazine had a readership of 6%, being second to NEWS magazine. The circulation of the magazine was 251,000 copies in 2007. Its circulation for the first half of 2008 was 59,124 copies. The 2010 circulation of profil was 93,000 copies. The circulation of the magazine during the first half of 2013 was 71,033 copies.