The fabrication of surface profiles may become an interesting technology in the field of micromachining. Recently, surface profiles are known and widely used in optics, especially in diffractive optics. E-beam lithography is a suitable technology for the fabrication of such profiles. This paper gives an overview about the experiences and results achieved at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany, on this field for some years. At first we describe the challenges and obstacles of typical optical profiles with regard to e-beam writing technology. After introducing our two different e-beam writers ZBA 23H (variable shaped beam) and LION LV1 (high resolution gaussian beam) we demonstrate different writing strategies for the fabrication of binary, multilevel and continuous surface profiles. Variable energy writing is a new technology extending the abilities of the well-known variable dose writing. Some selected examples of interesting patterns and profiles, as holograms, gear wheels, lenses, gratings and encoder discs, demonstrate different aspects to be considered and the possible solutions for some problems.