So far, the exceptions we’ve encountered have caused our programs to stop executing. However, it is possible for programs to continue executing even after encountering an exception. This process is known as exception handling and is accomplished using the Python try/except clauses.

The following flow chart demonstrates the mechanics of try/except:


Let’s break it down:

  • Python will first attempt to execute code inside the try clause code block.
  • If no exception is encountered in the code, the except clause is skipped and the program continues normally.
  • If an exception does occur inside of the try code block, Python will immediately stop executing the code and begin executing the code inside the except code block (sometimes called a handler).

Let’s see this in action in a small program that prints colors:

colors = { 'red': '#FF0000', 'blue': '#0000FF', 'yellow': '#FFFF00', } for color in ('red', 'green', 'yellow'): try: print('The hex value of ' + color + ' is ' + colors[color]) except: print('An exception occurred! Color does not exist.') print('Loop continues...')

We get the following output:

The hex value of red is #FF0000 Loop continues... An exception occurred! Color does not exist. Loop continues... The hex value of yellow is #FFFF00 Loop continues...

In the above code, the try block runs until it hit an exception. The hex value of the color red was successfully printed before it tried to access the hex value of green, which caused a KeyError since green is not in our colors dictionary and ran the code in the except block. However, the exception was handled so Python continued executing our code and went onto print the hex value of yellow.

Exception handling is a powerful tool that lets us gain more flexibility in dealing with errors in our applications. We can use it to perform an action multiple times until it succeeds, or perhaps simply print a message when a non-critical part of our program doesn’t work properly.

Let’s try performing some exception handling!



Instrument World has a program that prints a staff report for all of the Instrument World locations in the staff dictionary.

Take some time to review the code. Spot any issues?


We successfully printed the staff report for Austin, but we hit an exception (ZeroDivisionError) when trying to print out the ratio for Melbourne since we attempted to divide 8 by 0.

Let’s use exception handling to manage this error and keep our program running. First, wrap the function call print_staff_report() in a try clause.


Immediately after the try clause, add an except clause which prints 'Could not print sales report for ' + location.

Run the code and observe our exception handling!

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