So far we have seen how to raise and manage built-in exceptions. In most programs, using built-in exceptions won’t always be the most detailed way to describe an error occurring. What if we could create custom exceptions that are more specific to a program or module? Well, Python gives us the ability to create user-defined exceptions.

User-defined exceptions are exceptions that we create to allow for better readability in our program’s errors. The core syntax looks like this:

class CustomError(Exception): pass

All we have to do to create a custom exception is to derive a subclass from the built-in Exception class. Although not required, most custom exceptions end in “Error” similar to the naming of the built-in exceptions. We’ll learn how to customize these exceptions in the next exercise, but for now, let’s see how a simple custom exception helps us better document our errors.

Let’s imagine that Instrument World has an optional delivery service for instruments. If someone tries to schedule a delivery but their address is too far, we want to raise a custom LocationTooFarError exception. This isn’t a type of exception that is built into Python, but rather one that is specific to our program and use case. Here is what our program might look like utilizing this custom exception:

class LocationTooFarError(Exception): pass def schedule_delivery(distance_from_store): if distance_from_store > 10: raise LocationTooFarError else: print('Scheduling the delivery...')

Here, we have a class called LocationTooFarError that inherits from the Exception class. By doing so, we are telling Python that we would like to be able to use the class as our own custom exception.

Now, if we call schedule_delivery(20), we get the following output:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "inventory.py", line 10, in <module>
  File "inventory.py", line 6, in schedule_delivery
    raise LocationTooFarError

Since our class name populates into the traceback, even this simple class proves to be more useful than a generic Exception object or any built-in types! Users and developers alike will appreciate having specific exception details to work with.

Let’s practice creating our own simple custom exceptions!



Instrument World has a program for submitting an online order for an instrument and then updating the inventory. Take some time to look over the current state of the program.

Can we imagine any specific errors occurring? Run the code to see what happens!


Sometimes we will receive orders that can’t be fulfilled because there is not enough inventory for a specific instrument. Let’s add some custom exception handling to the program to handle this specific situation.

Create a class called InventoryError, which inherits from Exception. The body of the class should be a single pass statement.


Now, let’s deal with the logic of capturing if an exception occurs. Inside of submit_order(), add an if statement after the supply variable is assigned.

The if statement should check if quantity is greater than supply. If it is, then we want to raise our custom InventoryError exception.


Lastly, add an else clause after the if clause, and move the remainder of the function inside of it. This will make sure we execute the rest of the function if the exception is not hit.

Sign up to start coding

Mini Info Outline Icon
By signing up for Codecademy, you agree to Codecademy's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Or sign up using:

Already have an account?