The microstructure and properties of a ceramic component are largely predetermined by the processes and process controls used to manufacture them. The metric for success in manufacturing is often based on gross density. For example, optimizing pressure-density response, maximizing overall density, and minimizing springback and delaminations in powder pressing all focus on characterization and control of the overall (macroscopic) state of a powder compact. Unfortunately this focus on macroscopic effects has contributed to a general neglect of the compact at the microstructural level. Process-control variables in powder compaction have been defined and discussed by many workers, but their quantitative application to predict and control compaction behavior is limited. Advances in characterization technology and computer modeling now allow us to quantitatively characterize and simulate microstructures more easily. These and other tools can help provide the scientific and technological foundation necessary to predict and control microstructure and microstructural evolution during processing.