Fonts on a external drive, How to?


Hey folks

I am still learning Suitcase. I have a ton of fonts on a external drive. I want to be able to search and activate fonts from that drive. But… I do not want to put them ALL on my computer hard drive. Is it possible to just have the external drive show up as a library/set in Suitcase when plugged in? Any tips for managing external source fonts in Suitcase?


Hello purplepills,

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,
Chris Meyer
Extensis Font Solutions Team


Is this where I change the font vault location to my external drive? If so one I do that how do I actually go about adding the fonts? For the most part they are all in folders already within a “Fonts” folder on my external drive. Will that structure be kept in tact?


Hi purplepills,

Sorry for the delay.

Yes, that is the place where you setup where the vault is located.

Do you have fonts currently in Suitcase you want to preserve?
If so then I would suggest using the Archive feature and backup your current vault to a folder on your external hard drive.
Once completed, you can select the font vault on the external drive from the preferences Font Vault Location.

Best way to add fonts from your external drive is to just drag and drop the folders into your desired Suitcase Fusion 7 Library.
Unfortunately Suitcase only keeps the top level folder name you drop in. If you want to preserve the folder name you’d have to drag each subfolder in separately.

For example, if I wanted to preserve my sub-folders for “A Fonts” and “B Fonts” I’d have to drag in each one individually. Dragging in All Fonts would lose the secondary folder structure I’ve created.

Hope this helps, let me know.