Damage, strain hardening and residual stresses are the main physical mechanisms limiting the formability of metals. The goal of this work is to differentiate between the physical mechanisms in forming processes on microscale using modern electron microscopy techniques. 16MnCrS5 ferritic pearlitic steel is used for this study. In situ bending tests in a large chamber scanning electron microscope (LC-SEM) show changes of the structure under cyclic or static loading and deliver forming conditions for additional analysis. Digital image correlation (DIC) is used to determine stress evolution on the surface under tensile stress. Grain size, dislocation density and texture are analyzed using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Current state of research indicates that precipitates have a large influence on damage evolution, acting as a nucleus for pore growth. The in-situ bending shows this pore growth at MnS precipitates. Automated particle analysis using energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDX) shows an increase of the pore number and a separation of precipitate and matrix material.