(lispref.info)Examples of Catch

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Examples of `catch' and `throw'

   One way to use `catch' and `throw' is to exit from a doubly nested
loop.  (In most languages, this would be done with a "go to".) Here we
compute `(foo I J)' for I and J varying from 0 to 9:

     (defun search-foo ()
       (catch 'loop
         (let ((i 0))
           (while (< i 10)
             (let ((j 0))
               (while (< j 10)
                 (if (foo i j)
                     (throw 'loop (list i j)))
                 (setq j (1+ j))))
             (setq i (1+ i))))))

If `foo' ever returns non-`nil', we stop immediately and return a list
of I and J.  If `foo' always returns `nil', the `catch' returns
normally, and the value is `nil', since that is the result of the

   Here are two tricky examples, slightly different, showing two return
points at once.  First, two return points with the same tag, `hack':

     (defun catch2 (tag)
       (catch tag
         (throw 'hack 'yes)))
     => catch2
     (catch 'hack
       (print (catch2 'hack))
     -| yes
     => no

Since both return points have tags that match the `throw', it goes to
the inner one, the one established in `catch2'.  Therefore, `catch2'
returns normally with value `yes', and this value is printed.  Finally
the second body form in the outer `catch', which is `'no', is evaluated
and returned from the outer `catch'.

   Now let's change the argument given to `catch2':

     (defun catch2 (tag)
       (catch tag
         (throw 'hack 'yes)))
     => catch2
     (catch 'hack
       (print (catch2 'quux))
     => yes

We still have two return points, but this time only the outer one has
the tag `hack'; the inner one has the tag `quux' instead.  Therefore,
the `throw' returns the value `yes' from the outer return point.  The
function `print' is never called, and the body-form `'no' is never

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