- Thin viscous liquid films driven by capillarity are well described in the lubrication theory through the thin film equation. In this article, we present an analytical solution of this equation for a particular initial profile: a stepped perturbation. This initial condition allows a linearization of the problem making it amenable to Fourier analysis. The solution is obtained and characterized. As for a temperature step in the heat equation, self-similarity of the first kind of the full evolution is demonstrated and a long-term expression for the excess free energy is derived. In addition, hydrodynamical fields are described. The solution is then compared to experimental profiles from a model system: a polystyrene nanostep above the glass transition temperature which flows due to capillarity. The excellent agreement enables a precise measurement of the capillary velocity for this polymeric liquid, without involving any numerical simulation. More generally, as these results hold for any viscous system driven by capillarity, the present solution may provide a useful tool in hydrodynamics of thin viscous films.