Suitcase can manage fonts in a few ways.
Either through a centralized Font Vault or by linking them from their stored disk location.
Extensis recommends storing them in a Font Vault.
I have outlined each available option below and the pros and cons. Let me know if you need further clarification.
1. Add fonts to the Suitcase Font Vault (on a local hard drive)
This is the Extensis preferred method because Suitcase will scan your library for font issues and then place them all on your local drive into a protected font vault. The vault can easily be archived using built-in features of Suitcase or synched to the Cloud (new feature in Suitcase Fusion 7).
pros - Fonts are contained in a centralized location, they are easily accessible by the operating system and will always be available when called on by auto-activation plugins. Fonts in the vault are also scanned for integrity and corruption when added to Suitcase.
cons - Font files are stored on your local hard disk - this is something you are preferring not to do.
2. Add fonts to the Suitcase Font Vault (on an external hard drive)
In Suitcase, there is a preference to store your vault on an external disk location. It’s under the Suitcase Fusion > Preferences pull down menu.
You can either create a new vault and add your fonts or you can select an existing vault on your external hard drive.
Note: You can only have one Font Vault so you’ll have to archive the current vault to the external hard drive first if you want to maintain what you’ve already added to Suitcase.
pros - Allows you to store fonts on an external drive. The font vault is still the best way to centralize your fonts and ensure they are scanned for integrity and corruption.
cons - Fonts on an external drive will not be accessible when the drive is unmounted or unavailable.
3. Add fonts from their Original Location
This is another option that requires a setting change managed through Suitcase preferences. It allows you to add fonts to Suitcase from wherever they reside.
It is the least favored method because its extremely powerful and if you’re not diligent it can cause lots of missing font headaches.
pros - Allows you to manage fonts from any disk location including external drives.
cons - Font file links are easily broken by fonts that are deleted, moved or stored on an unavailable drive. Fonts are not scanned for integrity or corruption.
So based on your requirements I’d suggest you give option #2 a go. It looks like the best compromise for your needs and as long as your external hard disk is available you should have full access to your fonts.
I hope this helps,
Extensis Font Solutions Team