Python Basic Calculator Tutorial – Complete Guide

Welcome to our tutorial on creating a basic calculator using Python. Today we will guide you through the process of writing a program that carries out basic arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This fun and engaging tutorial is designed to enhance your understanding of Python programming and its real-world applications.

What is a Python Basic Calculator?

A Python basic calculator is a simple program that performs arithmetic operations using input provided by the user. The purpose of the program is not only to calculate mathematical equations but also to utilize some of the main features of Python, including user input, variables, and decision making.

Why Learn About the Python Basic Calculator?

Python, due to its simplicity and potency, is used in a wide array of sectors such as research, data science, artificial intelligence and game development. Understanding how to create a basic calculator with Python will:

  • Provide a deeper understanding of user input and output in Python.
  • Strengthen your decision-making logic using conditional statements.
  • Deliver hands-on experience with Python programming.

Creating a Python basic calculator will expand your understanding of Python’s utility and boost your coding skills, giving you the confidence to tackle more complex projects. Let’s start our journey into Python and unveil its interesting features by creating this basic but useful project.

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Building the Python Basic Calculator – Part 1

Let’s take our first step and guide you through defining functions for each arithmetic operation.

Start by defining addition:

def add(x, y):
   return x + y

Subtraction can be defined in a similar way:

def subtract(x, y):
   return x - y

Now let’s define multiplication and division:

def multiply(x, y):
   return x * y
def divide(x, y):
   if y != 0:
      return x / y
      return "Division by zero is undefined"

In the case of division, we took an additional step to handle the case when denominator is zero, as division by zero is undefined.

Building the Python Basic Calculator – Part 2

Now that we’ve defined the operations, let’s get input from the user about which operation they would like to perform:

print("Choose operation:")
print("1. Addition")
print("2. Subtraction")
print("3. Multiplication")
print("4. Division")

choice = input("Enter choice 1, 2, 3, or 4: ")

Here, we’re requesting input from the user to determine which operation our calculator shall perform.

Handling User Choice and Operands

Next, we’ll handle the user’s choice and ask for the operands:

if choice in ['1', '2', '3', '4']:
   num1 = float(input("Enter first number: "))
   num2 = float(input("Enter second number: "))

We used the if statement to check if the user’s choice is valid. If it is, the two numbers to operate on are requested.

Performing the Operations

Lastly, we use a series of if-else conditions to execute the operation chosen by the user:

if choice == '1':
   print(num1, "+", num2, "=", add(num1, num2))

elif choice == '2':
   print(num1, "-", num2, "=", subtract(num1, num2))

elif choice == '3':
   print(num1, "*", num2, "=", multiply(num1, num2))

   print(num1, "/", num2, "=", divide(num1, num2))

That’s it! You’ve now successfully built a basic calculator using Python. This tutorial showcases the utility and versatility of Python. Attempting such projects will not only enhance your programming skills but also give you the confidence to tackle more complex coding problems.

Enhancing our Python Basic Calculator

With the basic functionality of our calculator complete, we can now add additional features to further improve the user experience and capability of our program.

Adding a Loop for Continuous Operation

A useful feature to add would be to allow continuous calculations without having to restart the program. We can achieve this using a while loop. Here’s how we modify our code:

while True:
   print("Choose operation:")
   print("1. Addition")
   print("2. Subtraction")
   print("3. Multiplication")
   print("4. Division")
   print("5. Exit calculator")
   choice = input("Enter choice 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5: ")

   if choice == '5':
      print("Exiting the calculator...")

   elif choice in ['1', '2', '3', '4']:
      num1 = float(input("Enter first number: "))
      num2 = float(input("Enter second number: "))

      if choice == '1':
         print(num1, "+", num2, "=", add(num1, num2))

      elif choice == '2':
         print(num1, "-", num2, "=", subtract(num1, num2))

      elif choice == '3':
         print(num1, "*", num2, "=", multiply(num1, num2))

         print(num1, "/", num2, "=", divide(num1, num2))

      print("Invalid choice! Please enter a valid option.")

Adding Error Handling for Inputs

As it stands, our program will crash if the user inputs something other than a number for num1 or num2. We can prevent this by using a try-except block:

elif choice in ['1', '2', '3', '4']:
      num1 = float(input("Enter first number: "))
      num2 = float(input("Enter second number: "))
   except ValueError:
      print("Invalid input! Please enter a valid number.")

With this addition, our calculator will now handle erroneous inputs from the user and continue running without crashing.

Adding Support for More Operations

Our calculator can be further enhanced to support more complex operations like power, square root, sin, cos, tan, etc. Here’s an example of adding power operation:

def power(x, y):
   return x ** y

# Within the operation selection:
elif choice == '5':
   print(num1, "to the power of", num2, "=", power(num1, num2))

These additions will take your basic Python calculator to the next level, making it more flexible and robust. You can add as many functions as you want, thus expanding your calculator’s capabilities and your programming skills. Not to mention, these tips will give you a solid foundation for tackling more complex Python projects in the future.

Where to Go Next

As you can see, coding in Python can be a fun and rewarding experience. The Python programming language is versatile, powerful, and highly relevant in today’s technology-driven world. By mastering Python, you open the door to a wide array of opportunities in areas such as software development, game development, artificial intelligence, and data science.

How to Keep Learning

The learning journey with Python doesn’t end here. There are so many more concepts, libraries, and projects to explore.

To keep advancing in your Python journey, we highly recommend considering our extensive Python Mini-Degree program. This comprehensive course collection, designed by experienced industry professionals, gradually builds your Python skills with practical, hands-on projects. You’ll delve into a range of interesting topics from basic algorithms to game development and app creation.

Completing the Python Mini-Degree will provide you the experience to:

  • Create your own games.
  • Build AI chatbots.
  • Work on real-world applications.
  • Master data science and machine learning principles.

Moreover, the course caters to all levels of learners with a flexible learning structure, allowing you to learn at your own pace while providing access to live coding lessons.

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As a part of Zenva Academy, you not only get comprehensive learning material but also a supportive and encouraging environment to ignite your passion for learning. We offer over 250 courses to boost your career, helping you learn coding, game creation, artificial intelligence (AI), and more.

Further Opportunities

To explore a more broad collection of topics and courses in Python, you can peruse our Python Courses which cater to a variety of specialty areas.

Let your Python journey unfold with endless learning opportunities. So why wait? Dive into the world of Python with us and turn your coding dreams into reality. Happy Coding!


The programming world is expansive and exciting, brimming with opportunities to create, solve, and innovate. As this tutorial demonstrates, Python’s simplicity and power have made it one of the most popular programming languages in the world for beginners and professionals alike.

We hope that our Python basic calculator tutorial has sparked your curiosity and encouraged you to delve deeper into the world of Python programming. Remember, learning is a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and continuous growth. As Zenva Academy, we are committed to providing high-quality content and we look forward to being a part of your journey, supporting you every step of the way.

To continue coding with Python and expanding your programming skills, check out our comprehensive Python Mini-Degree. It’s time to bring your ideas to life and make your mark in the world of technology!


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