In situ transmission electron microscopy magnetizing experiments combined with Lorentz magnetic microscopy in Fresnel–Foucault modes were used to characterize the magnetic structure of die-upset, high energy-product hard magnets Nd13.75Fe80.25B6 and Pr13.75Fe80.25B6. Experimental observations indicate a well-aligned grain structure and quasiperiodic nonaligned “extended defect” layers transverse to press direction. The local remanence of the “defect” layers is far from saturation when the external field is removed. The layers are enriched with inclusions of approximate composition Nd7Fe3, generally with a polygonal shape, and are associated with the original ribbon interfaces. They may be responsible for a high coercivity mechanism, since the motion of reverse domains can be impeded by these layers, even when they are nucleated. Thus, a delayed nucleation of reversed domains seems to be a limiting factor for magnetization reversal and coercivity force. Both Lorentz magnetic imaging and high-resolution microscopy highlight the role of magnetocrystalline anisotropy for domain wall-grain boundary interactions and pinning. Local remanence was estimated directly from magnetic moment sensitive Foucault images. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.