The hysteresis loops of nanocrystalline (nc) permanent magnets (pms) produced by the melt-spin technique have been investigated for compositions based on the intermetallic compounds R2Fe14B (R = Nd, Pr) and the carbides Sm2Fe17−xGaxCy. The following three types of pms have been studied: 1) High-coercivity pins with exchange decoupled grains. 2) High-remanence exchange-spring pms. 3) High-coercive-high-remanence composite pins with exchange coupled soft and hard magnetic grains. The temperature dependence of the coercive field μ0Hc for all three types ofpms obeys a relation for a modified nucleation field, Hc = (2K1/Js)α - Neff Ms (K1 = first anisotropy constant, Ms = spontaneous magnetization). For an analysis of the characteristic differences between the microstructural parameters a and Neff as obtained for the three types of pms, computational micromagnetism on the basis of the Finite Element Technique is applied. This powerful method allows a quantitative analysis of the role of grain size, grain boundaries (gbs), texture of easy directions and of soft magnetic phases in composite materials. In order to obtain satisfactory results, a self-adapting algorithm has been developed where the mesh size is adapted to the gradients of the direction cosines of the spontaneous magnetization. It turns out that excellent magnetic properties of composite pms can only be obtained if the gbs are as ideal as possible. Remanence and coercive field are found to decrease linearly with a corresponding reduction of both, the crystal anisotropy and the exchange constant within the gbs. In composite pins the diameters of the soft magnetic grains should be smaller than twice the domain wall width, of the hard magnetic phase in order to obtain a remarkable remanence enhancement. From these model calculations general rules for the development of optimized nc pms with large remanences and large coercivities are derived.