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I was wondering how those licenses work.

When I have a view like:

User Licenses : Salesforce 30

Permission Set Licenses : Sales User 10, Service User 10, CRM User 10

I know that permission set licenses extends functionality of users when it is assigned to it, but when I'm creating a new User I do select "Salesforce" for User License, I don't have to assign a permission set in order to let him work with the platform.

My situation is that 30 Salesforce Licenses are used, but it seems that none of permission set licenses are used, so the sum of permission set licenses doesn't have to match with Salesforce User Licenses, right?

So, when are used this permission set licenses and for which purpose?

Thanks. Fabio

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From the documentation,

Permission set licenses incrementally entitle users to access features that are not included in their user licenses. Users can be assigned any number of permission set licenses.

You won't be able to assign a permission set license until after the user has been created (there is a related list on the user detail page). You are correct that the number of permission set licenses in use doesn't have to match the number of user licenses, but I cannot imagine a situation where the number of any individual permission set license exceeds the number of user licenses. Then you would have licenses you pay for, but cannot use. I'm assuming the exact count depends on your contract with Salesforce.

In principle, permission sets allow you to modify user access additively. For example, rather than assigning separate profiles to a group of users and their supervisors, you can assign a profile to users and supervisors (since they have similar job functions), then assign a permission set to just the supervisors to give them elevated access. The permission set license is similar to the user license in that you have to pay for it. So permission set licenses allow Salesforce to charge you (their customer) for access to some aspect of the platform in a way that gives you the flexibility to assign it only to the subset of your users that need it, rather than paying for all of your users.

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