In two same-different matching experiments we investigated whether transposed-character effects can be modulated by the horizontal displacement or inter-character spacing of target stimuli (strings of 6 consonants, digits, or symbols). Reference and target stimuli could be identical or differed either by transposing or substituting two characters. Transposition costs (greater difficulty in detecting a difference with transpositions compared with substitutions) were greater for letter stimuli compared to both digit and symbol stimuli in both experiments. In Experiment 1, half of the targets were displayed at the center of the screen and the other half were shifted by two character-positions to the left or to the right, whereas the reference was always presented at the center of the screen. Target displacement made the task harder and caused an increase in transposition costs whatever the type of stimulus. In Experiment 2, all stimuli were presented at the center of the screen and the inter-character spacing of target stimuli was increased by one character space on half of the trials. Increased spacing made the task harder and paradoxically caused an increase in transposition costs, but only significantly so for letter stimuli, and only in the discriminability (d’) measure. These results suggest that target location and inter-character spacing manipulations caused an increase in positional uncertainty during the processing of location-specific complex features prior to activation of a location-invariant representation of character-in-string order. The hypothesized existence of a letter-specific order encoding mechanism accounts for the greater transposition costs seen with letter stimuli, as well as the greater modulation of these effects by an increase in inter-character spacing seen in discriminability (d’).